As Stanley Jean-Baptiste prepares for the NFL Combine, the Nebraska Cornhuskers prepare to replace him in their starting lineup. It won't be easy, either.
Jean-Baptiste has made quite the name for himself as a cornerback for Nebraska. His list of accomplishments seems to go on and on. Just looking at his player profile on Huskers.com, it's apparent he will be missed. Just a short glimpse from Nebraska's athletic site shows a very impressive player:
Jean-Baptiste started all 12 games at cornerback and tied Ciante Evans for the team lead in interceptions with four. Jean-Baptiste had an interception in each of the first four games, the longest streak for a Nebraska player since Josh Bullocks in 2003. Jean-Baptiste returned his interceptions for a total of 134 yards, the most interception return yards for a Husker since 2005. He also led the team with 11 pass break-ups, increasing his career total to 21 break-ups.
So, how exactly will Nebraska replace Jean-Baptiste?
The Huskers began to answer that question by recruiting Texas native Trai Mosley. At only 5'10" and 170 pounds, plenty of college coaches overlooked Mosley. However, that was a mistake, as reported by The Fremont Tribune.
Mosley boasts a 4.43 40-yard dash time. His high school coaches were also quick to say how motivated he is to get better as a player, per The Fremont Tribune.
With Jean-Baptiste departing, as well as Ciante Evans, the Huskers were on the hunt for defensive backs. Mosley would be able to help fill that gap sooner rather than later.
Another player that could easily step in is JUCO transfer Byerson Cockrell. While he played more safety at East Mississippi Community College, his film shows a player that could take over nicely for both Jean-Baptiste and Ciante Evans.
As Scout.com put it, Cockrell shows that he has "an incredible break on the ball, natural instincts from both spots and is also a solid tackler." He was also ranked within the nation's top ten JUCO safeties.
In 2013, Cockrell had three interceptions for 128 yards as a safety, which included a 58-yard interception that he returned for a touchdown. According to Huskers.com, he also had 33 tackles, four pass breakups, three tackles for loss and two sacks.
With Cockrell's collegiate experience, it appears that he would get the nod to replace Jean-Baptiste over Mosley. He will also have had time at Nebraska, as he is currently enrolled and working out with the team. However, with Evans also departing, that doesn't mean Mosley won't see playing time either.
Ultimately, Nebraska needed defensive backs and that was addressed with the 2014 recruiting class. Who falls where depends on everything leading up to the first game of the season.
Replacing Jean-Baptiste will be a challenge. He's a physical player that will definitely be missed.
However, the Huskers have recruited players capable of stepping up. As of now, it seems very possible that the man to fill Jean-Baptiste's shoes will be Cockrell.
They won't be easy shoes to fill either.