For Nebraska football fans, it’s never too early to start looking ahead. And quite honestly, many Children of the Corn presumed the 2012 season was over about midway through the second quarter of Wisconsin’s dismantling of Nebraska in the B1G title game.
So a way-too-early look ahead to Nebraska’s 2013 depth chart isn’t out of line. Now, understand that recruiting season is far from over, and we haven’t had any spring practice (heck, we haven’t even had the bowl game!), so these projections should be considered subject to change. Still, it’s a fun exercise as we wait for the Capital One Bowl.
Finding quality players at tackle will be an issue for Nebraska, as it looks to be thin in both depth and talent at the position. In fact, the offensive line loses only Justin Jackson and Seung Hoon Choi from the 2012 squad, so look for a lot of the same names in Nebraska’s offensive line rotation.
LT – Brent Qvale, Jeremiah Sirles
LG – Jake Cotton, Broderick Nickens
C – Cole Pensick, Mark Pelini
RG – Spencer Long, Ryne Reeves
RT – Jeremiah Sirles, Andrew Rodriguez
Taylor Martinez will be the centerpiece of Nebraska’s offense in 2013. As a senior, look for Martinez to start the season on a number of Heisman Trophy watch lists. And with a softer schedule, Martinez may be able to produce results to keep him in the conversation for most of the year. With his redshirt year under his belt, Tommy Armstrong should look to get playing time throughout the season.
Running back should be an interesting battle with the departure of Rex Burkhead. While Ameer Abdullah would seem to have the inside track for the starting job, I think Braylon Heard showed enough in his limited experience to have a shot as a starter. Remember, Heard didn’t even have a full offseason of work as a running back, having moved to defensive back and only moving back to offense after the transfer of Aaron Green.
Andy Janovich did enough to impress as a true freshman to give him the head start as a starter next season at fullback.
QB – Taylor Martinez, Tommy Armstrong, Ron Kellogg III
IB – Braylon Heard, Ameer Abdullah, Imani Cross
FB – Andy Janovich, C.J. Zimmerer, Mike Marrow
Wide receiver is an area where Nebraska is blessed with tremendous returning talent. Kenny Bell, as a junior, might be the best wide receiver in the B1G. Jamal Turner began to show his potential at the end of 2012. And Quincy Enunwa earned his stripes time and again as a reliable target in the clutch. Look for the battles at wide receiver, particularly between backups, to be fierce.
Tight end will be an area of concern for Nebraska. Jake Long is NU’s only returning tight end with experience, so incoming freshman Greg Hart could very well see the field in 2013.
WR X – Kenny Bell, Tyler Wullenwaber
WR Z – Quincy Enunwa, Taariq Allen
WR A – Jamal Turner, Jordan Westerkamp
TE – Jake Long, Greg Hart
Nebraska will be breaking in a new placekicker in Mauro Bondi, although Bondi comes in as a more heralded recruit than either Alex Henery or Brett Maher did when they took the job. Of course, so did Jordan Congdon, so take that for what it’s worth.
Unfortunately, Nebraska will also be breaking in a new long snapper. Joseph Rotherham will likely have the inside track to start at the position, with depth to be developed during the spring. Nebraska’s holder for 2012, Jase Dean, was also a senior, so Nebraska will also be finding a new holder. Special teams for Nebraska in 2013 could be a bit of an adventure.
PK – Mauro Bondi, Colin Claire, Spencer Lindsay
LS – Joseph Rotherham
HOLD – ?
UPDATE - Thanks to the comments, I was alerted that I managed to omit Spencer Long as a returning starter at guard. That has been corrected, and I apologize for the omission. Insert your own "too drunk off fruitcake" reference here.
UPDATE ON THE UPDATE - Thanks to an e-mail commenter who kindly did not want to out me to the rest of the world, I have corrected the spelling of Tyler Wullenwaber. Sorry about that, Tyler!
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