Sep 8, 2012; Pasadena, CA, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers coach Bo Pelini during the game against the UCLA Bruins at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

Impact Freshman: Who Will Compete for Playing Time?


With depth being a concern for Nebraska in 2013, the coaching staff will almost certainly have to abandon their “trusted players only” mentality. Young players should see plenty of action for the Nebraska Cornhuskers this year out of necessity.

The defensive side of the football is by far the thinnest group, especially at linebacker. With the recent dismissal of Thomas Brown from the team, it becomes an even bigger issue. While David Santos, Trevor Roach, and Zaire Anderson have the most game experience from the linebacking core for The Huskers, several freshman should compete for playing time, if not win positions outright.

Redshirt Freshman Michael Rose is the most promising of the young linebackers, with many experts picking him to start when the season kicks off against Wyoming. Another backer to keep an eye on is Jared Afalava, who is also a potential starter for Nebraska. If not by the season opener, the likelyhood that Afalava ends up being a leader on this defense and winning a starting job is strong.

The defensive line is another thin position for Nebraska. With the starting lineup of the front four to be determined in fall camp, the competition seems wide open. Vincent Valentine and Avery Moss are both likely to get plenty of snaps for the Huskers, but it is unclear if they will earn Blackshirts in 2013.

The defensive backfield seems like the most solid group of defenders for Nebraska, but there is youth that will compete for a roster spot in fall camp. Stu Whitney, Sports Editor of The Argus Leader in Sioux Falls tweeted this about freshman DB Nathan Gerry yesterday.

On the offensive side of the football, three players in particular look to have an immediate impact for Nebraska. A duo of incoming freshman look to get reps at running back. Terrell Newby and Adam Taylor are both very skilled backs with a good chance of seeing the field early in 2013.

Wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp will be a regular in the Husker offense. Last year in practice and the scout team, he caught almost every pass thrown his way. He might not be the fastest, biggest, or strongest receiver on the team, but when a guy can hold on to the ball he is an asset you can’t afford to play. Look for a huge year from Westerkamp.

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Tags: Jared Afalava Jordan Westerkamp Michael Rose Nebraska Cornhusker Football Terrell Newby

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