Nebraska Football: Who Are This Years X Factors?


Dec 1, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers wide receiver Kenny Bell (80) gestures to the crowd before playing against the Wisconsin Badgers during the Big Ten championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

We all know that The Nebraska Cornhuskers offense will be special this year. Senior Taylor Martinez comes back for one last shot at a conference crown, and he has plenty of weapons to choose from. The Blackshirts have a lot of question marks, from the defensive line all the way back to the defensive backs. There are hidden gems there as well, ready to make an impact.

So who will be the x factors for Nebraska football in 2013? Here are five players that could make or break The Huskers season.

1) WR Kenny Bell:

The Big Ten should “Fear The Fro.” The junior from Boulder Colorado is poised to have a huge season. He is one of Taylor Martinez favorite targets as his 2012 numbers show. He caught 50 passes for 863 yards and 8 touchdowns. With Kyler Reed gone from the roster, these numbers should improve. Bell has the potential to become the schools first 1000 yard receiver.

2) WR Jordan Westerkamp:

The red shirt freshman might have the best hands on the team. While it is unknown how much playing time he will see, his pass catching ability might be too good to keep him off of the field. I’m not sure if the guy has dropped a pass in practice yet. While nothing can duplicate real game action, this young receiver might be the biggest difference maker on this potent Husker offense.

3) LB Michael Rose:

The sophomore linebacker has impressed many in practice. Which linebacker slot he is placed in is still a question mark, since Bo Pelini and Defensive Coordinator John Papuchis get creative with the roles their linebackers play. With last years linebacking core gone, someone will have to step into a leadership role at the position. It will be between Rose and the next player on our list.

4) LB David Santos:

Santos saw significant playing time last year, and that experience should pay off for the explosive linebacker. He recorded 24 tackles in seven games last year, a number that must grow tremendously in 2013. He has the potential strike fear in ball carriers and quarterbacks, and if he is used properly by the coaching staff, could be a first team Big Ten selection this year. The Blackshirts have to improve from last years performance and Santos is the guy who can help turn things around.

5) RB Imani Cross:

Ameer Abdullah is the man in the backfield for Nebraska. There is absolutely no doubt Abdullah is the clear cut number one at the position. Cross will be just as important for Husker success this season. While he won’t get as many carries as Ameer, he should get a significant amount. He will be the thunder to Abdullah’s lightening. The short down back is often overlooked, but I don’t know if the Huskers could have a better man for the job. If he can contribute with three to four hundred yards worth of tough situation carries, the Nebraska offense will be able to compensate for any shortcomings from the Blackshirts.

Who are your X Factors for the 2013 Nebraska Cornhuskers? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

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