Nebraska football is quickly approaching the Spring Game, meaning it will be important for fans to have an idea about all facets of their team so they know what to watch for.
We’ve already gotten to know the backup running backs, the wide receivers, the offensive line, the defensive line and the defensive backs. Now it’s time to finish the job (no, you’re not getting a breakdown of the kickers; I have to draw the line somewhere) and take a look at the linebackers.
So, for one final time, let’s dust off the Stephen Colbert gag for "Better Know Your Cornhusker Linebackers."
The Returning Starters
There aren’t any. That was easy.
The Next Linebackers Up
OK, it might have been a bit flip to say there are no starting linebackers returning. But with the departures of Will Compton, Sean Fisher and Alonzo Whaley, Nebraska will have very few experienced linebackers to take the field in 2013.
Sophomore David Santos (6’0”, 200 pounds) and junior Trevor Roach (6’2”, 230 pounds) have the most on-field playing experience of any linebackers currently on the roster. Santos has the athletic ability to be a leader going forward, while Roach has an opportunity this spring to use his experience to earn a place on the starting roster.
Junior Zaire Anderson (5’11”, 220 pounds), who earned a spot on the field before an injury robbed him of the remainder of the 2012 season, should have a strong case to make for time on the field as well.
Sophomore Max Pirman (6’5”, 220 pounds) has seen some playing time and will be looking to use this spring to help vault up the depth chart. Senior Colby Starkebaum (6’1”, 220 pounds) will also hope to use his final spring to earn playing time.
The Redshirts Blossom
Nebraska has a number of redshirt freshmen that have been biding their time since last year and are ready to make an impact.
Look for Thomas Brown (6’2”, 210 pounds), Michael Rose (5’11”, 230 pounds) and Jared Afalava (6’3”, 215 pounds) to fight hard to fill the spots left by last year's three departing senior linebackers. Mitch McCann (6’0”, 220 pounds), Brad Simpson (6’0”, 195 pounds) and Jack Gangwish (6’2”, 230 pounds) will also be looking to take advantage of their redshirt seasons and earn playing time in 2013.
Nebraska signed three scholarship linebackers in the 2013 class, all 4-star prospects according to 247Sports.com, and their addition should bolster both the depth and talent level at the position.
Courtney Love (6’1”, 225 pounds) enrolled early, and that should give him a jump on his fellow classmates in terms of earning playing time. Josh Banderas (6’2”, 220 pounds) and Marcus Newby (6’1”, 210 pounds) will arrive this fall, and the coaching staff will have decisions to make about whether any of the three recruits will redshirt.
Walk-ons Chris Weber (6’3”, 200 pounds) and Jack Fordon (6’2”, 200 pounds) will also be in the mix to add depth to the position.
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