Nebraska Football’s 5 Most Intriguing Players Heading into 2014
Nebraska Football's 5 Most Intriguing Players Heading into 2014
The 2014 Nebraska Cornhuskers could be the most productive bunch under Bo Pelini since 2009. No, Ndamukong Suh and the Blackshirts of yore aren't coming back to assist. However, there's a level of talent and a schedule that could very well help Pelini break the dreaded Four Loss Curse.
Nebraska features a stable of running backs led by Heisman darkhorse Ameer Abdullah that rivals the glory days. Offensive line coach John Garrison can finally cobble together a reliable two-deep with confidence. The defensive line, while still somewhat raw and needing more bodies, fused as a unit later in the 2013 season which carries over to 2014 with any luck.
Both of these groups were anything but reliable for Nebraska last season resulting in losses to both superior teams and those with confident mindsets.
Linebacker is a position that offers the Blackshirts an embarrassment of riches. Zaire Anderson continued his dominating ways and Michael Rose introduced himself to Husker Nation. Thankfully for Pelini, the college football world can expect to get to know a number of names from the corps not seen last year due to redshirts. They may be green, but considering the talent surrounding them, they can afford to make a few mistakes.
The future of secondary is somewhat uncertain. Ciante Evans and Stanley Jean-Baptiste both take their leave. New defensive backs coach Charlton Warren is going to have to work some magic if the Big Red secondary is to pick up where their former teammates left off. If Nebraska's to find its way back into the spotlight, these five players will likely play a huge role.
5. CB Josh Mitchell
One of the most experienced returning members of the secondary, Mitchell has been vocal about his role as a leader. If he can walk the walk, the Huskers have a hostile defensive back ready to do damage.
4. DT Vincent Valentine
Valentine started out 2013 with his head spinning, but by the time the season ended, he looked like he truly belonged at his starting spot. Expect him to continue to improve over the spring and impress come the fall.
3. WR Kenny Bell
The fan favorite of Nebraska's wide receiver corps had the spotlight in 2013, but his numbers weren't indicative of the corps' best. Senior Quincy Enunwa had 176 more yards receiving and his 12 touchdown catches tripled Bell's scoring snags. As the season went on, he showed a case of the dropsies as well. For The Fro, it's time to step it up and lead.
2. OT Alex Lewis
Much has been made about Lewis' addition to the roster and for good reason. He's got the inside track to take over the starting left tackle spot that Jeremiah Sirles left open. Early spring reports suggest he's every bit the player Nebraska wants at the position.
1. Starting QB
Tommy Armstrong, Jr. and Johnny Stanton will battle for the No. 1 spot well into the fall. Hopefully the coaches can name a starter prior to kickoff against the Florida Atlantic Owls. If not, that contest and what should be a scrimmage against the McNeese State Cowboys gives offensive coordinator Tim Beck time to make a final choice.