The Nebraska Cornhuskers‘ blackshirt defense was expected to struggle in 2013. The Huskers’ coaching staff was well aware that they would be fielding a very young defensive squad. Their defensive squad was expected to be particularly young up front, as the majority of key returning defensive contributors were on the defensive secondary. Seniors Ciante Evans and Stanley Jean Baptiste were well aware of the expectations put on the secondary and the two of them led the defense through the beginning of the 2013 football season, while the defensive linemen and linebackers up front found a grove and established a report with one another.
The secondary did their job very well–led by the two seniors–until standout talents up front began to shine. All in all, the Husker defense was exactly what people had expected them to be this football season. In fact, they were even a bit of a bright point for many fans as expectations were never that high leading into 2013. Coming out the other end of the 2013 football season, the defense will be very saddened to see outstanding seniors like Evans and Baptiste depart from the team, but they have to be equally excited by the effort and performances they saw from players like defensive linemen Randy Gregory and Avery Moss or linebackers Michael Rose and Nathan Gerry.
With all of the young talent starting to take shape, head coach and defensive guru Bo Pelini could be content to focus on some holes on the offensive side of the ball, but that is far from the case. Pelini is unlikely to rest until his defense is the best in the Big Ten and with the amazing performance by Mark Dantonio’s Michigan State Spartan defense, Pelini will not be resting anytime soon. Here is a look at some of the individuals that Pelini targeted in his last round of recruiting before the Huskers took off for the warm Florida weather, where they will be taking on the Georgia Bulldogs at the Gator Bowl.
Bo Pelini seems to have an affinity towards placing an emphasis on his defensive line. This is not just from his days as the Head Husker coach, but also in his time that he spent coaching up the LSU Tigers defense. Pelini prides himself on finding big, athletic, dominant defensive lineman to disrupt each play from its onset. This offseason, the biggest recruit that the Huskers secured for their defensive line was Terrell Clinkscales. Clinkscales is an imposing 6-foot-4 and weighs in at 310 pounds. This junior college transfer is ready to play as soon as he puts his first foot on campus and he is more than excited to play for coach pelini.
Clinkscales is coming to Lincoln from Kansas. Both Peyton Newell and Joe Keels should be big impact players for the Huskers in the future. One thing is for sure about Pelini’s Defensive Line, size does matter.