During Nebraska’s 2010 fall camp, the race for the starting quarterback job was narrowed down to three names: Zac Lee, Cody Green and Taylor Martinez.
Head coach Bo Pelini was tight-lipped regarding who would be under center for the Cornhuskers' opening tilt.
Lee was thought to be the odds-on favorite with Green nipping at his heels.
The Cornhusker fan base was shocked to see the redshirt freshman Martinez take the reins against Western Kentucky.
Entering Nebraska’s inaugural season as a member of the Big Ten conference, the field has expanded to five potential starting signal-callers.
There is no lip service this year.
The race is wide open and while any one of these young men could hold the keys to the Big Red’s offense, only one gets the title of “starter.”
Who has the inside track as this marathon starts following National Signing Day?
Every race needs a dark horse.
For the 2011 Nebraska starting quarterback spot, true freshman Jamal Turner carries that title.
He isn’t the longshot due to lack of talent, however.
As a senior for Sam Houston High School, he ran for over 1,800 yards and 35 TDs.
Turner also spent time at wide receiver in the 2011 Under Armour All-American all-star game.
While he may not take snaps as a quarterback during the upcoming season, expect him to be on the field in some capacity.
Several Cornhusker fans wondered why Carnes’ redshirt wasn’t pulled in 2010.
Taylor Martinez’s injury was clearly hobbling him, Cody Green had his struggles and Zac Lee didn’t play due to a banged-up wrist.
Why not give the athletic Carnes a shot?
By the time these scenarios had all come to fruition, Nebraska was eight games into the season.
It was likely determined that since running backs Rex Burkhead and Roy Helu, Jr. operated well out of the Wildcat formation, Carnes' first official playing time could wait.
Rated a four-star prospect by Rivals.com in the 2010 recruiting class, Carnes is the cousin of former Nebraska standout quarterback Tommie Frazier.
Obvious comparisons can be made between Frazier and Carnes as both played at Bradenton, Florida’s Manatee High School, but to call such claims premature is a severe understatement.
It's safe to say that Carnes has all of the tools necessary to have a successful career and perhaps start for Nebraska some day.
A proper idea of his ability to use them will be seen in a few short months at Nebraska's annual Spring Game in April.
Green came on strong to end the Cornhuskers’ 2010 season, but his improvement didn’t equate to more playing time.
He shined in an overtime victory against a scrappy Iowa State team.
A few weeks later, he had what was arguably the game of his career in the final Big 12 conference meeting between Nebraska and Colorado.
Green knows the system well, but does he have the skill set for where the Nebraska offense is headed?
The young man is poised and mature, a true ambassador and mentor for his team.
Still, he will be a junior and if a logjam is in front of him on the depth chart, will he be willing to stick around and pass what he has learned on to underclassmen?
T-Magic isn’t a lock to retain his starting spot?
Martinez is the appropriate type of athlete that Nebraska is looking to utilize.
While it’s undeniable that he has excellent athleticism, several question marks surround the quarterback after a roller coaster first year under center.
Will his ankle fully heal allowing him to return to the fleet-footed style that he never recovered following his injury versus Missouri?
Can Martinez rally his teammates around him and cast off doubts of team solidarity?
Have things been truly smoothed over between the quarterback and his head coach?
The answer to the first question defines how effective Martinez will be as a quarterback.
The second and third will truly determine his place on the depth chart.
Taylor Martinez is an amazing athlete.
There is no denying that.
Bubba Starling, on the other hand, is simply better.
He is tailor-made for the system that the Cornhuskers are looking to implement.
Starling is more durable than Martinez.
He doesn’t get rattled or frustrated as easily either.
While Starling’s passing mechanics may need some fine-tuning, his passion for improvement should cause his skill to surpass Martinez's by the end of camp.
Many debate whether or not Bubba will actually be in Lincoln come the fall citing that a lucrative baseball contract will be waiting for him.
The quarterback himself has stated that there are numerous factors that would go into signing with a major league club.
Contract specifics, bonuses and organizational direction are a few of the major hurdles than any team choosing to draft Starling needs to take into account.
Those hurdles are excellent news for Nebraska.
The Cornhuskers had to part ways with then-quarterback of the future and current Boston Red Sox left fielder Carl Crawford in 1999.
Karma looks to smile on Nebraska in 2011 with a phenomenal athlete and a prototypical quarterback for their system.
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