Attention all Big Ten backfields: Jared Crick would like a word with you.
According to ESPN’s Joe Schad, the junior will not be skipping his final season of wearing the Cornhuskers' colors.
The defensive tackle from Cozad, Nebraska finally stepped out of the shadow of Ndamukong Suh this past season. He responded to the pressure with 70 tackles (36 solo), 17 TFL, 9.5 sacks, two PBU and two QBH.
Crick put up similar numbers as a junior alongside Suh in 2009. Does this suggest that with another off-season of work under strength and conditioning coach James Dobson that Crick will match the mind-numbing terror of Suh come the 2011 season?
Not likely, but he’ll be a fright all the same.
Crick’s choice is a wise one. While he could’ve entered the NFL draft, another year of seasoning can do wonders for both a player’s skill set and draft stock. He will also have to show his stuff in arguably an even more physical environment now that Nebraska will find itself amongst the blue-collar Big Ten.
A likely Lombardi Award candidate, Crick was named the nation’s top collegiate player regardless of position by the Sporting News in 2010's preseason. He’s no Cam Newton, but that’s not saying that he can’t equal 2010 Lombardi Award winner Nick Fairley’s 2010 statistics.
Fairley bested Crick’s TFL and sack totals along with collecting an interception and recovering two fumbles.
While Crick’s place at the Blackshirts’ dinner table is likely set in stone, the battle to sit next to him will be fierce. The likely participants will be junior Terrence Moore and sophomore Baker Steinkuhler. Steinkuhler sat out the Holiday Bowl allowing Moore further time in the spotlight.
The best news for Nebraska fans is that all juniors will return to solidify the defense even more.
Suh terrorizes opposing backfields on Sundays now, but one can’t help wonder if he doesn’t envy his old quarterback-crushing buddy just a little bit.
Crick has something that he doesn’t:
A leader’s role on the Nebraska Cornhuskers football team waiting for him in 2011.
Don't let the off-season get you down.
Football news, reviews and much more awaits! Follow Brandon on Twitter (@eightlaces) for the all the latest and other general football goodness.