Nebraska football fans, like all college football fans, are constantly looking toward the future. As the heroes of today graduate and leave the university, new heroes arrive on campus to continue the tales of the Cornhuskers.
That cycle continues with Nebraska’s 2013 recruiting class. Here, as we look into the football-shaped crystal ball, is a glimpse of who Nebraska may be basing future glories upon.
I know, this feels like déjà vu all over again. Another crop of highly rated running backs coming in, behind established starters, looking for playing time right away. This could be the Aaron Green-Braylon Heard-Ameer Abdullah situation all over again, with one rising up and the rest voting themselves off the island.
But if Bo Pelini has learned the lessons from the departures of Green and Heard and can find a way to make both of these players key parts of the offense, Nebraska’s rushing attack could be set for years to come.
It really is hard to overstate the importance of Johnny Stanton’s arrival in Lincoln. An Elite 11 quarterback, Stanton’s athleticism fits in perfectly with what Nebraska offensive coordinator Tim Beck seems to like with his offense. According to ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer, who watched Stanton at the Elite 11 camp, “[t]here is a reason they call him ‘Johnny Tebow.’”
Yes, I know, you’re shocked that an ESPN analyst would bring up Tim Tebow.
But the fact remains that Stanton does look the part. He will have stiff competition from Tommy Armstrong to take over as signal-caller once Taylor Martinez departs. But if he does win the job, given the offense NU is building and the skills he has demonstrated, Stanton could truly be something special.
After the 2012 season, Nebraska’s entire starting linebacker corps was lost due to graduation. But Bo Pelini responded to that graduation like Alfred E. Neuman—what, me worry?
Nebraska responded by recruiting an entire freshman linebacker corps, all 4-star prospects, according to 247Sports.com. With returning talent available so that Pelini can mix in the freshmen rather than throwing them into the fire immediately, Nebraska’s linebackers could be the linchpin of the Blackshirts in years to come.
In the past few years, Nebraska’s offense has been left without a dominant, mauling presence at offensive tackle. Knevel, at 6’9” and 285 pounds, has the potential to become that type of player. Coming from Canada, Knevel is definitely a project in terms of the technical prowess needed to excel at tackle in the B1G. But the raw physical tools are there. If Knevel develops, he could be a huge part of a resurgent pipeline for Nebraska.
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UPDATE: Corrections in the article have been made for clarification purposes (replacing "understate" with "overstate" on the Johnny Stanton slide) and to correct the spelling of Alfred E. Neuman on the Marcus Newby slide. My apologies for the errors.