All this week Husker Corner staff writer Chris Peters has given us his “winners” of the position battles in spring practice. Here is Jimmie Allen’s look at what the 2012 depth chart will look like at the end of fall camp.Today we talk defense. There are still a few players who have not arrived on campus who could be major contributes.
Strong Side Defensive End
1. Cameron Meredith
2. Joesph Carter
The breakdown: Meredith will lead a thin line of defensive ends. Carter is a nice addition to the team in his second year after transferring Chaffey Community College. Nebraska will still be lacking an “elite ” pass rusher.
1. Baker Steinkuhler
2. Thaddeus Randle
The breakdown: Steinkuhler came to Lincoln as one of the top rated offensive linemen in the country. Head coach Bo Pelini moved him over to defensive tackle, and he has shown some big strides over the last two seasons. In his final season in Lincoln, he gets his last shot at living up to his potential. Randle will be a junior, and will get a lot of opportunity to see the field in a solid rotation.
1. Chase Rome
2. Todd Peat
The breakdown: Rome will be the other starter in the defensive tackle rotation. There is a lot of depth behind him. Jay Guy and Kevin Williams will be excellent’ 3rd and 4th options after Peat.
Weak Side Defensive End
1. Jason Ankrah
2. Eric Martin
The breakdown: This will be the most interesting position battle of fall camp. Martin will push Ankrah, and will be an excellent second option if he is unable to when the starting job.
1. Sean Fisher
2. Jared Afalava
The breakdown: Fisher will open the season as a starter. He is the weakest link of the starting linebackers, and the Huskers added 4 very talented linebackers that could make an immediate impact. Afalava is the gem of the 2012 recruiting class, and can push Fisher for playing time in the fall.
1. Will Compton
2. Ziare Anderson
The breakdown: Compton is the most talented of the starting linebackers. An NFL draft pick for sure. He will look to fill the enormous hole, left by Lavonte David. David’s team leading 133 tackles from 2011 will be missed, but with Compton leading the defense and the young linebackers athleticism, the hole should be filled slightly. Anderson is a junior college transfer. If he can pick up the defense, he will compete for playing time, and can fill Compton’s shoes next season.
1. Alonzo Whaley
2. David Santos
The breakdown: Whaley saw starting time at the end of the 2011 season, but never sealed the spot. Santos is a former Texas 5A defensive player of the year, and will challenge for multiple starting spots in the linebacking core. Santos’ athleticism will help him compete for playing time. Look for in-coming freshman Michael Rose to compete for playing time.
1. Mohammed Seisay
2. Ciante Evans
The breakdown: Seisay is a junior college transfer from Eastern Arizona Community College. He is the real deal, and has received high praise from all defensive coaches through the spring. Seisay was one of 7 members of the defense that head coach Bo Pelini said has caught his eye in the spring. Evans started last season, but did not have the season most expected out of him.
1. P.J. Smith
2. Courtney Osborne
The breakdown: This will be one of the more interesting battles of fall camp. Both players have all the potential in the world. Hopefuly they will both drive each other in the fall.
1. Damion Stafford
2. Harvey Jackson
The breakdown: Stafford proved time, and time again that he belonged on the filed with the best in the Big 10. He also proved that he has a little more developing, before he can be ranked among the best defensive back in the country. Stafford will be the unchallenged starter, but there is a lot of young talent behind him. Jackson has all the potential in the world, and hits like a truck.
1. Antonio Bell
2. Stanley Jean-Baptiste
The breakdown: Bell was one of the break out stars of the spring. He is a former wide receiver turned corner. It will be interesting to see if the 6-foot-3, Baptiste can push for more playing time. Baptiste also started as a wide out. In limited playing time Baptiste showed all the upside in the world. Everyone remembers his interception against Ohio State.
By Jimmie Allen
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