Grading Nebraska's Post-Spring Depth Chart
Nebraska football fans got to see the annual Red-White spring game last weekend—a final glimpse of the players before they break until August. With the spring game not using split squads this year, we got a close look at the offensive and defensive units as a whole.
As a result, we have a slightly better idea of what the post-spring depth chart will look like for Nebraska. Of course, it’s still guesswork in many areas. For the most part, this will also exclude players who missed the spring due to injury, as well as those who were not on campus.
Caveats fully applied, let’s take a look at our best guess of Nebraska’s post-spring depth chart, and how it grades out going in to the summer.
Tackle: Alex Lewis, Zach Sterup, David Knevel
Guard: Chongo Kondolo, Mike Moudy, Matt Finnin, Ryne Reeves
Center: Mark Pelini, Paul Thurston
Lewis certainly looks to be the star of the unit at this point, winning the starting job from Knevel and standing up well to Nebraska’s salty front four.
Pelini looks settled in at center, and his experience at the position could be very important going forward.
Quarterback: Tommy Armstrong, Johnny Stanton or Ryker Fyfe
I-Back: Ameer Abdullah, Imani Cross or Terrell Newby, Adam Taylor
Fullback: Andy Janovich, Harrison Jordan
Abdullah is certainly the centerpiece of Nebraska’s offense in 2014, but both Cross and Newby showed a versatility we didn’t see last year.
Cross was able to get outside and be effective, while still maintaining his power. Meanwhile, Newby looked more comfortable running between the tackles and asking questions of the defense.
That versatility could help keep Abdullah fresh, and make Nebraska’s offense more potent.
WR X: Kenny Bell, Brandon Reilly
WR Z: Taariq Allen, Sam Burtch
WR A: Jordan Westerkamp, Jamal Turner
Tight End: Cethan Carter, Sam Cotton
It’s amazing to think a guy with Turner's skills could be relegated to second string, but that looks like it may be where the depth chart is—at least after spring practice.
Westerkamp has certainly solidified his position, and Allen looks to be recovered physically and mentally from his injuries.
Defensive End: Randy Gregory, Greg McMullen, Joe Keels, Marcus Newby
Defensive Tackle: Vincent Valentine, Kevin Maurice, Maliek Collins
Gregory is clearly the best defensive player on the team—and arguably the best player on the team overall.
Injuries and an overall lack of depth make this position a little bit of a question mark at this point in the season. It is fascinating, though, to see experiments with defensive tackle Maliek Collins and linebacker Marcus Newby as a defensive end.
MIKE Backer: Michael Rose, Trevor Roach
WILL Backer: Zaire Anderson, Courtney Love
SAM Backer: Josh Banderas, David Santos
In terms of talent level, linebacker is perhaps the best overall position group amongst the entire Nebraska squad.
Anderson and Rose have separated themselves, while Banderas is looking to clean up some technical issues and find a place on the starting roster.
I think his overall talent level gives him the nod, but don’t be surprised to see Santos ultimately edge him out.
Marcus Newby is a talented linebacker, but with such strength in depth, playing him at defensive end in pass-rushing situations may make more sense.
Cornerback: Josh Mitchell, Byerson Cockrell or Jonathan Rose, Boaz Joseph
Safety: Nathan Gerry, LeRoy Alexander, Charles Jackson, Zach Stovall
With Mitchell the only true starter returning and without injury, there are lots of questions at the back.
A return to health for safety Corey Cooper will make a big difference in the fall depth chart, with his size and experience helping to balance things out.
The battle for the second starting cornerback position, between Cockrell and Rose, should be one to watch right up until the kickoff of the first game in August.
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