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Nebraska Football: 15 Huskers Under The Brightest Spotlights in 2014

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Nebraska Football: 15 Huskers Under The Brightest Spotlights in 2014

15 huskers
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The 2014 Nebraska Cornhuskers look to be one of Bo Pelini's most exciting teams yet. That excitement is stoked due to a number of question marks across both the offense and defense. 25,000 tickets have already been sold for the glorified scrimmage known as the Red-White Game, and with good reason.

While an extraordinarily talented team, youth and inexperience is the key factor that will end up making or breaking the Huskers this upcoming season. No position is locked down, per se, but there are battles that may legitimately be decided before the first snap against the Florida Atlantic Owls, coach speak aside.

Nebraska's Memorial Stadium already has a top notch lighting system. However, the 87,091 people she can seat (though a record 91,471 showed up for last year's game against the UCLA Bruins) offer ocular spotlights that can range anywhere from dim to blinding.

Some players on this list will be watched due to the love affairs that Big Red backers have created while others' actions will define the season. Another bunch has stepped on the field and made an impact, but fans still aren't sure where they'll be seen during the upcoming spring scrimmage or in the fall.

The Huskers have also had an unfortunate run of luck when it comes to seniors getting severely injured during their final years as of late. Taylor Martinez, Spencer Long, Rex Burkhead and Jared Crick among others are counted on the list of the fallen.

Who could drop down the depth chart, increase jersey sales or be risking their NFL stock come the 2014 season? Let's have a look.

Brandon Cavanaugh is a Big 10 writer for Follow him on Twitter @eightlaces, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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15. Kenny Bell

kenny bell
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The 'fro all Huskers know is looking to make a far bigger impact during his senior season than he did last year. He had some success making amazing grabs and totaling three touchdowns, but senior Quincy Enunwa quadrupled that output.

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14. Ameer Abdullah

ameer abdullah
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If Nebraska has a hard stance regarding bringing wood into Memorial Stadium, it may be relaxed considering the aforementioned senior curse. The Huskers' Heisman dark horse is gunning for another 1,000+ yard season and should be a thrill to watch.

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13. Terrell Newby

terrell newby
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Newby's name was all too appropriate when it came to adapting to the college game last year. He had some difficulty securing the football but may come out as a sensational sophomore thanks to running back coach Ron Brown. If he doesn't, redshirt freshman Adam Taylor is waiting in the wings.

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12. Alonzo Moore

alonzo moore
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Moore is perhaps offensive coordinator Tim Beck's best kept secret. He's struggled with offensive concepts early on, but he is stunningly athletic. Now a sophomore, he may be one of the Huskers' breakout players of the year.

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11. Randy Gregory

randy gregory
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A favorite Blackshirt of 2013, Gregory gets some big help both literally and figuratively in junior college transfer Joe Keels. It may take some time for Keels to adjust to the speed of big time college football, but watch for him to set ball carriers up for Gregory to knock down.

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10. Zaire Anderson

zaire anderson
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Playing his final season, Anderson looks to bring the standard issue speed Pelini looks for in his WILL linebackers. Anderson will still be needed to clean up the occasional mess as growing linebackers continue to learn.

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9. Michael Rose

michael rose
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Rose's impressive 2013 season wasn't much of a surprise given his work ethic. He ended up with 66 tackles (39 solo) and six tackles for loss as a redshirt freshman. The future looks bright at MIKE, so keep your eyes open.

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8. David Santos

david santos
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Where have you gone, David Santos circa 2012? The guy who made the game-winning strip against Penn State turned into a confused, bumbling, stumbling mess in 2013. If he can't step up in 2014, it's a sure bet that someone else will. The linebacker corps is one of the deepest units on the team.

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7. Vincent Valentine

vincent valentine
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Big Vince made a statement from game one against the Wyoming Cowboys to the Gator Bowl against the Georgia Bulldogs. He grew into a reliable guy up the gut. Now all Pelini has to do is find a complement and the Huskers are well on their way to rebuilding the defensive middle.

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6. Maliek Collins

Maliek Collins
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Speaking of finding that other piece of the puzzle up front, it could be Aaron Curry or Kevin Williams. My prediction is Maliek Collins. Like Valentine, he became much more ferocious at the point of attack, used his hands properly and gave up the straight bull rush. Nos. 98 and 7 could easily be your starting two inside.

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5. Nathan Gerry

nathan gerry
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A linebacker last year, Gerry's athleticism allows Pelini and new secondary coach Charlton Warren to toy with the idea of moving him to either safety, peso or move him between the three positions. One thing is certain: He needs to see the field at all costs.

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4. Leroy Alexander

leroy alexander
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When recruited, Alexander was ragged on as a wasted scholarship. Now he's being looked at as a potential starter at safety as a sophomore. With a driven work ethic and the ability to knock the wind out of his man's sails, he's one to watch for both necessity and fun.

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3. Charles Jackson

charles jackson
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Nobody really knows where Jackson's going to end up or if he'll even stay at his initial position when playing against Florida Atlantic. Some predict he'll rotate in for cornerbacks Jonathan Rose and Josh Mitchell while others have him as the Huskers' nickel back. I agree with the latter.

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2. Alex Lewis

alex lewis
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I've brought Lewis up quite a bit lately, but I can't emphasize how big of a part he could play in Nebraska's 2014 success. Initially, I would've predicted that junior college transfer Matt Finnin finally picks up a starting offensive tackle role. Now, Lewis likely blocks him from the first string by taking the place of Jeremiah Sirles (pictured above).

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1. The QB Competition Winner

qb competition
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Welcome to The Fishbowl! The battle between Tommy Armstrong Jr. and Johnny Stanton can now begin in earnest. Fans have been talking about this competition since before Stanton signed on the dotted line. There was even some question as to whether or not he'd come in if Armstrong went down last year. Let the clash commence!

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