Offensive Position by Position Breakdown:
We all know the starting quarterback will be fifth year senior Taylor Martinez. If Martinez continues to improve his throwing motion this could be a dream season for him. Possible first team All B1G honors and other awards could come his way with a good season.
Spring practice was important in finding out who would be the backup for Martinez. Tommy Armstrong Jr. and Ron Kellogg III battled for backup duties with Armstrong came out victorious with his great Red/White spring game performance. Walk-on quarterbacks Tyson Broekemeier, Ryker Fyfe, and Evan Williams probably won’t see action unless a game gets way out of hand. Incoming freshman Johnny Stanton (Rancho Santa Margarita, California) (Santa Margarita Catholic HS) will likely redshirt and run the scout team this fall.
The Rex Burkhead era is over, but there is no need to panic. The Huskers return junior running back Ameer Abdullah who ran for over 1000 yards last season in relief during Burkhead’s injury. Also returning is sophomore running back Imani Cross who saw the field often last season scoring seven touchdowns.
The Huskers lost Braylon Heard as he transferred out of the program to Kentucky. The Huskers filled a need at running back in the 2013 recruiting class. Bo Pelini and his coaching staff ended up grabbing two running backs in Terrell Newby (West Hills, California) (Chaminade HS) and Adam Taylor (Katy, Texas) (Katy HS). Both players were four star prospects and Newby was widely considered to be the best running back out of California by many recruiting experts. Walk-on redshirt freshman King Frazier had an impressive spring and showed if injuries became a factor he could potentially help the team in the running game. Other Walk-ons like Murat Kuzu, Graham Nabity, and Jordan Nelson may see action if a game gets out of reach or play on the scout team.
The fullback position is not a particularly important position in the spread formations Nebraska uses. In the traditional I-formation sets the Huskers use a good fullback is a necessity. Sophomore Andy Janovich played as a true freshman last season and he figures to be involved once again along with senior Mike Morrow. Senior C.J. Zimmer also should receive playing time. Incoming freshman Harrison Jordan (Omaha, Nebraska) (Westside HS) figures to be in the equation for the future as the Huskers have two senior fullbacks on the roster currently.
The Huskers return a deep, talented group of wide receivers heading into the 2013 football season. Redshirt junior Kenny Bell leads the promising group of receivers. In 2012 he had 50 catches for nearly 850 yards. Redshirt senior Quincy Enunwa also returns with plenty of experience from the last two seasons, and last year we saw Jamal Turner emerge as a guy who can have great success in the slot. Just look at the Michigan State game from a year ago when he scored the winning touchdown with six seconds left in the fourth quarter.
Redshirt freshman Alonzo Moore and Jordan Westerkamp figure to be in the plans this year after what they showed us in spring practice. Walk-ons Tyler Evans and Tyler Wullenwaber may see playing time if a game were well in hand.
Incoming freshmen Tre’vell Dixon (Baldwin, Louisiana) (West Saint Mary’s HS) and Kevin Gladney (Akron, Ohio) (Firestone Senior HS) both are talented. Dixon may receive playing time as a true freshman but Gladney will likely be redshirted.
The Huskers have an interesting situation at the tight end position. Ben Cotton and Kyler Reed are trying to earn spots on NFL rosters and leave holes to fill at tight end. This years group will be much younger outside of senior Jake Long. Sam Cotton, the younger brother of Ben will also get an opportunity to contribute this season after redshirting in 2012.
Incoming freshman Cethan Carter (Metairie, Louisiana) (Archbishop Rummel HS) will likely get a chance if he impresses the coaches during fall camp. Another incoming freshman to watch is Greg Hart (Dayton, Ohio) (Archbishop Alter HS) who will get a look this fall. Expect the two freshmen to redshirt.
The Huskers return everyone on the offensive line except for center Justin Jackson and tackle Seung Hoon Choi. Mark Pelini and Cole Pensick both have experience playing the center position. Pensick will likely start considering he has been added to the Preseason Remington Award Watch List. The talented all B1G performer Spencer Long returns to anchor the line at guard. Other returning players with valuable experience are Jeremiah Sirles, Andrew Rodriguez and Jake Cotton.
The Huskers have many new players coming to Lincoln this fall including Matt Finin (College of Dupage) (Crete Monee HS) (Crete, Illinois) and Chongo Kondolo (Fresno City College) (Creekview HS) (Carrollton, Texas) who both come from the junior college ranks. Kondolo is considered to be able to play multiple positions including guard and center. Finin is believed to challenge incumbent starter Sirles for the opportunity to start at tackle. North Dakota State transfer Sam Hahn has the ability to contribute, but might not see significant playing time until 2014.
Incoming freshman Dwayne Johnson (Pearland, Texas) (Bellaire HS) is not Dwayne “the rock” Johnson but he was sought after by many good teams including some SEC schools so we know he has talent. Expect him to redshirt. Other incoming freshmen like David Knevel (Brantford, Ontario, Canada) (Pauline Johnston Collegiate HS) and Zach Hannon (Kansas City, MO) (Rockhurst HS) are both raw when it comes to experience and will likely redshirt. but they have the size to be productive in the future.
The Huskers have the complete package on offense. Taylor Martinez continues to improve his passing game to aid his great running abilities. Stability at running back with Ameer Abdullah, a thousand yard rusher last year, goes four deep with Imani Cross and the two true freshmen Terrell Newby and Adam Taylor. They also have the most talented and deepest wide receiver group in the B1G with Kenny Bell, Quincy Enunwa, Jamal Turner, and crew have shown their playmaking ability. The offensive line returns a lot of experience and this group has the potential to be the best line to play in Lincoln in some time. Expect the Huskers to have one the top offense in the B1G, if not the nation in 2013.