When a college football team targets a recruit, they do so with a purpose in mind.
If said recruit doesn’t quite live up to their billing by year two, it’s a minor strike against the player.
Should that player not only plateau, but see little to no progression over a few years' time, that’s strike two.
While baseball is being played across the way from Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, there are five Cornhuskers who are facing three strikes on the football field.
Five individual home runs need to be hit during the spring in order to make any kind of contribution this season, let alone be on the 2012 roster.
Green, while on the bubble, is still likely a quarterback post-spring ball due to necessity.
Some believe he has the ability to still play at his current position and want to see how well he can perform in Nebraska offensive coordinator Tim Beck’s new system.
Others would rather just switch him to tight end tomorrow, thus eliminating playing time for another candidate on this list.
He does have to continue to give coaches a reason to believe in his ability.
With Brion Carnes and Jamal Turner in Lincoln to give Green and Taylor Martinez a push, the heat’s already turned up.
Ward showed flashes of ability late during the 2010 season as a running back.
With an influx of talent, thanks to incoming recruits Braylon Heard, Aaron Green and Ameer Abdullah, Ward is receiving a unique opportunity.
He has been moved to tight end with the likely idea that he can mirror the talents of Kyler Reed and provide Nebraska with not only a bruiser at the position in Ben Cotton, but another “bullet” as well.
Having Lester officially move to tight end with many fans calling for Cody Green to follow, we continue the march towards the Cornhusker that appears closest to the chopping block.
Okafor, much like Ward, is getting a second chance to make a first impression.
The transfer of former Cornhusker Dontrayevous Robinson to Montana State and likely Eastern Michigan transfer Mike Marrow having to sit out a year due to NCAA regulations is a blessing for Collins.
Okafor has the opportunity to grow into the “big-back” role that the aforementioned players were meant to and will likely serve.
Under the guidance of running backs coach Ron Brown, Okafor may be able to salvage the remaining two years of his career, but he needs to show that he can run through a few brick walls first.
Seen as a token offer by many during Nebraska’s 2008-2009 recruiting cycle, Kreikemeier may have what it takes to play in the Big Ten conference, but he's behind the eight ball when it comes to getting on the field.
For two years, Kreikemeier has been working to eventually defend a standard Big 12 spread-option style, or one more-accommodated towards a speed set base, at least.
Now, the 6’3”, 220-pound linebacker from West Point, Nebraska has to switch his game back towards power concepts and break previously-taught habits that received no long-term live action.
This will likely come as an easier transition for more experienced players such as Will Compton, Sean Fisher and Graham Stoddard.
If Kreikemeier doesn’t make a statement soon, he’ll be lost in the shuffle heading into the summer.
Kerr is only a sophomore, but he’s between a rock and a hard place when it comes to ever playing at Nebraska.
He has to battle fellow tight ends Ben Cotton, Kyler Reed, Robert Barry and others for playing time.
As mentioned before, Lester Ward was moved to his position in an attempt to create another game-changer.
This doesn’t bode well for Kerr.
Kerr needs to be the ultimate team player this spring, but that might not be enough to save him from the chopping block.
With new recruits Eddie Ridder and David Sutton coming into the program already prepped for development to surpass Kerr, his departure looks almost inevitable.
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