Nebraska football fans will descend on Memorial Stadium this weekend to see the spring game and get their first glimpse at what NU will look like next season. And while many of the new recruits won’t arrive until August, there are a number of players Nebraska fans will get to see. Here’s a look at five of them to watch this Saturday.
Imani Cross (IB)
If there was any player handed a monstrous opportunity this spring, it was sophomore running back Imani Cross. After slimming down this offseason in an attempt to shed the “short-yardage back” stigma, Cross got his chance when likely starter Ameer Abdullah hurt his knee and was held out of spring practice.
Now Cross will get the chance to be the first-team I-back at the spring game this Saturday, and along with it the opportunity to demonstrate that he can be an every-down rusher. Keep an eye on how Cross takes advantage of that opportunity.
Alonzo Moore (WR)
Nebraska’s starting trio of wide receivers – Kenny Bell, Jamal Turner and Quincy Enunwa – appear to be pretty settled going into 2013. But the order of receivers behind those three is up in the air. Players like Jordan Westerkamp, Taariq Allen, Tyler Wullenwaber and Tyler Evans will all be competing for playing time.
But it is redshirt freshman wide receiver Alonzo Moore that seems to be getting the most attention through spring practice. According to Steven Sipple of the Lincoln Journal Star, offensive coordinator Tim Beck called Moore “electrifying” and compared his speed to Bell’s.
So while all of the receivers will bear watching, Moore might be attracting a few more eyeballs than others.
Vincent Valentine (DT)
Ever since the departure of Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska has lacked a dominating presence at defensive tackle. Many are hoping that redshirt freshman Vincent Valentine will be the one who will fill that void for Nebraska.
Valentine certainly has the size for the role at 6’3”, 325 pounds. And with his redshirt year behind him, the hope is that he has picked up head coach Bo Pelini’s defensive schemes and will be ready to contribute in 2013.
Thomas Brown (LB)
With all three starting linebackers for Nebraska graduating in 2012, the field is wide open for new contributors. Many Children of the Corn are excited to see how redshirt freshman Thomas Brown looks on the field. Brown has the kind of speed and athleticism that Nebraska lacked at linebacker last season, highlighting the departure of Lavonte David and what he meant to the Blackshirts in years gone by.
Jonathan Rose (DB)
In the last two bowl games, Nebraska has received an up-close look at what “SEC talent” really means. Unfortunately for Nebraska, that has resulted in two less-than-competitive losses for NU.
But now Nebraska has some SEC talent of its own. Auburn transfer Jonathan Rose sat out his redshirt year last season, and will look to make an impact in NU’s secondary, most likely at cornerback. In a crowded defensive backfield, it should be interesting if Rose’s SEC experience will help him stand out from the competition.
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