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Nebraska Football: Meet the Cornhuskers' New Starters for 2013

Patrick RungeCorrespondent IJanuary 18, 2017

Nebraska Football: Meet the Cornhuskers' New Starters for 2013

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    As Nebraska football fans anxiously await the first game of the season, and as depth charts begin to be announced throughout the country, many fans will be getting their first look at the players who will be replacing departing stars.

    So let’s take a closer look at the new faces on Nebraska’s depth chart for the 2013 season.

Jake Cotton

2 of 19

    Height: 6'6"

    Weight: 305 pounds

    Position: Left Guard

    Player Replacing: Seung Hoon Choi

    With a remarkably settled offensive line, Cotton’s experience in the program (as a junior) should help him get a leg up on the competition and lock down a starting spot.

Ryne Reeves

3 of 19

    Height: 6'3"

    Weight: 295 pounds

    Position: Left Guard

    Player Replacing: Seung Hoon Choi

    One of the few remaining players from Bo Pelini’s big haul of offensive line recruits in 2011, Reeves is on target to be in a rotation for playing time, if not outright starting.

Cole Pensick

4 of 19

    Height: 6'2"

    Weight: 275 pounds

    Position: Center

    Player Replacing: Justin Jackson

    Although it was Mark Pelini and not Pensick who was called upon at the end of last season when Jackson was injured, all signs point to Pensick sliding over from guard and becoming the third senior in a row to start at center.

Jake Long

5 of 19

    Height: 6'4"

    Weight: 240 pounds

    Position: Tight End

    Player Replacing: Ben Cotton

    Although he missed most of fall camp due to injury, Long’s experience should make him first on the field at tight end for Nebraska. And with the kind of success tight ends have in Tim Beck’s offense, Long could be a sneaky candidate for some significant contributions.

Randy Gregory

6 of 19

    Height: 6'6"

    Weight: 255 pounds

    Position: Defensive End

    Player Replacing: Eric Martin

    No new starter has come in more anticipated—and more needed—than the junior college transfer. Gregory is a pass-rush specialist on a team that desperately needs to improve its pass rush. If he is able to hit the ground running, Nebraska’s defense should reap the benefits.

Thad Randle

7 of 19

    Height: 6'1"

    Weight: 290 pounds

    Position: Defensive Tackle

    Player Replacing: Cameron Meredith

    Randle hopes to put his injury concerns behind him and use his senior campaign to lead a group of young defensive linemen as Nebraska’s defense tries to find its way back from the depths. If Randle can stay healthy, he should be a mainstay on the defense this season.

Vincent Valentine

8 of 19

    Height: 6'3"

    Weight: 325 pounds

    Position: Defensive Tackle

    Player Replacing: Chase Rome

    Valentine has the perfect frame to be a defensive tackle in a Bo Pelini defense, particularly if Nebraska starts playing more three-man fronts and he can be a nose tackle. But Valentine will need to prove he can produce on the field to maintain a starting spot.

Aaron Curry

9 of 19

    Height: 6'1"

    Weight: 280 pounds

    Position: Defensive Tackle

    Player Replacing: Chase Rome

    The coaching staff thought enough of Curry’s talents to eschew a redshirt and give him playing time as a true freshman. That experience last season should help Curry as he competes for a starting role along the defensive line.

Zaire Anderson

10 of 19

    Height: 5'11"

    Weight: 220 pounds

    Position: BUCK Linebacker

    Player Replacing: Sean Fisher

    Injuries derailed Anderson’s year last season and stressed Nebraska’s depth at linebacker during the course of 2012. Now fully recovered, Anderson should be a fixture at linebacker throughout the season.

David Santos

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    Height: 6'0"

    Weight: 225 pounds

    Position: MIKE Linebacker

    Player Replacing: Will Compton

    As a true freshman, Santos forced his way onto the field in 2012 and made the mistakes a freshman would be expected to make. This season, look for Santos to use that experience to take a leadership role in the middle of Nebraska’s defense.

Jared Afalava

12 of 19

    Height: 6'3"

    Weight: 230 pounds

    Position: WILL Linebacker

    Player Replacing: Alonzo Whaley

    Afalava may be the first in a number of players reflecting an evolution in Bo Pelini’s defense, a linebacker who has the skills to move up and rush the passer in a three-man front. His development, along with the development of the defense, should be fascinating to watch.

Stanley Jean-Baptiste

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    Height: 6'3"

    Weight: 220 pounds

    Position: Cornerback

    Player Replacing: Andrew Green

    The transition for Jean-Baptiste from wide receiver to defensive back appears complete. He has solidified his place in Nebraska’s secondary for 2013.

Corey Cooper

14 of 19

    Height: 6'1"

    Weight: 215 pounds

    Position: Safety

    Player Replacing: P.J. Smith

    Nebraska’s coaches clearly think a lot of Cooper’s athletic skills. They've worked hard to get him on to the field, even trying him at cornerback for a game. With the depth chart opening up, Cooper’s securing of a starting safety role seemed clear.

Harvey Jackson

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    Height: 6'2"

    Weight: 210 pounds

    Position: Safety

    Player Replacing: Daimion Stafford

    A hard-hitting safety with plenty of experience, Jackson is well-suited to step in and compete for a starting safety role amidst a crowded Nebraska secondary.

Charles Jackson

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    Height: 5'11"

    Weight: 175 pounds

    Position: Safety

    Player Replacing: Daimion Stafford

    While he doesn't have the height and size of some of his counterparts, Jackson’s speed and ball skills should make him a strong competitor for playing time in Nebraska’s secondary.

Sam Foltz

17 of 19

    Height: 6'1"

    Weight: 200 pounds

    Position: Punter

    Player Replacing: Brett Maher, the punter

    This appears to be the season for converted wide receivers. Foltz has completed the transition from receiver to punter. Coaches have been impressed with Foltz’s leg strength, and he appears to have locked up his starting job as NU’s punter.

Mauro Bondi

18 of 19

    Height: 6'0"

    Weight: 205 pounds

    Position: Placekicker

    Player Replacing: Brett Maher, the placekicker

    As a scholarship sophomore, most Nebraska fans assumed the placekicker mantle would be Bondi’s after Maher’s graduation. But when Nebraska brought in Pat Smith from Western Illinois in the offseason, the competition was on for the job.

Pat Smith

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    Height: 5'11"

    Weight: 185 pounds

    Position: Placekicker

    Player Replacing: Brett Maher, the placekicker

    Smith’s transfer from Western Illinois in the offseason surprised many Nebraska observers and signaled a battle in fall camp between he and Mauro Bondi for the placekicking duties.

     

    If you’d like to contact Patrick, send an email to patrickrunge@gmail.com.

    Or, you could always use the Twitter machine to follow @patrickrunge

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