The Nebraska football roster in 2013 will look much different than the 2012 version. A number of true freshman who will be arriving in Lincoln have a great chance to compete for playing time. With a strong spring, and a lack of development from some of the players currently on the roster, some of those freshmen could find themselves as starters next year.
Here's a look at four of the freshman most likely to break through and win a start.
With the graduation of Kyler Reed and Ben Cotton, tight end will be a position of transition for Nebraska in 2013. Jake Long is the only returning player on the roster with experience, although Sam Cotton and Trey Foster will be coming off their redshirt years and pushing for playing time.
Still, incoming freshman Greg Hart is a receiving threat at tight end. Particularly, if Nebraska is looking to add offensive firepower out of the tight-end position, look for Hart to earn a starting role.
Much like at tight end, Nebraska's linebacking corps will be getting a complete overhaul in 2013. While Nebraska has a number of redshirt freshman that will be competing for playing time, incoming freshman Josh Banderas could be in the mix as well.
He performed well at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and should give the coaching staff options if the redshirt freshmen don't pan out.
Safety is another position where Nebraska will be starting from scratch, with the graduation of Daimion Stafford and P.J. Smith. There will be a tremendous amount of competition for starting positions, of course, including a number of cornerbacks who will be looking to switch positions to safety.
But McWilson should be arriving in Lincoln as a safety from the get-go and should be in the mix for playing time. If he is able to hit the ground running, he may be able to wrest a starting position away from some of the more established players as well as position-switchers.
So, which freshman will be the most likely to start?
Long snappers might be the most unheralded players in football. A true specialty, of course, but not having a dependable long snapper can be catastrophic. Nebraska will be breaking in an entirely new special teams unit with the graduation of kicker/punter Brett Maher, holder Jase Dean and long snapper P.J. Mangieri.
Incoming freshman long snapper Gabriel Miller is likely to assume the starting role right away and will be snapping to a new holder and a new punter. Of all the freshmen Nebraska needs a big impact from, Miller might be at the top of the list.
If you’d like to contact Patrick to schedule an interview, provide feedback or get advice on which type of chocolate goes best with fresh fruit (spoiler alert: dark), send an e-mail to email@example.com.
Or, you could always...Follow @patrickrunge.