In 2011, Bo Pelini will be leading his Nebraska Cornhuskers onto the field, having to rely on a number of freshmen to fill key holes in his lineup. Asking kids fresh out of high school to contribute to a program at Nebraska's level is always dicey. Pelini is hoping his recruiting prowess will have found the talent he needs to play right away.
Let's take a look at the five kids most likely to make an instant impact (as well as the obvious one that could, but won't).
How many running backs with legitimate game-time experience does Nebraska have coming back next year?
One. Rex Burkhead. That's it. That's the list.
Aaron Green is Nebraska's first five-star running back recruit since Marlon Lucky, and given the lack of depth NU has at the position, expect to see Green on the field right away.
Photo courtesy of Better Off Red.
Jamal Turner was recruited as a quarterback. However, his electric speed and elusiveness convinced Bo Pelini and staff to move him to wideout where he could be guaranteed playing time. With Cody Green's departure and Bubba Starling's likely signing with the Royals, it is possible Turner could move back under center in a pinch. But either way, his speed will be the difference-maker for NU next year.
Photo courtesy of Husker Extra.
Charles Jackson is Nebraska's top cornerback recruit and will be eyeing playing time as NU looks for a replacement for first-round pick Prince Amukamara. There is a question as to whether Jackson will get his grades up to a point where he will be eligible to play, and if he can't, it will be a big loss for this year's recruiting class.
Photo Courtesy of Big Red Today.
Reeves, an in-state recruit from Crete, has the potential to be Nebraska's best offensive line recruit from this class. He has the versatility to play either tackle or center. The center position, specifically, is tough to fill, and Reeves has the potential to fill that role for NU in the years to come, as well as fill out the offensive line right away.
Photo Courtesy of Big Red Today.
The toughest job in Lincoln next year might be trying to fill Alex Henery's shoes. But given the importance of Henery to the program, kicker is a critical position to fill. Bondi is Nebraska's only scholarship-offered kicker. Given the need at the position, with the Skinny Assassin's departure, Bondi could step right in and be a vital part of Nebraska's 2011 campaign.
Photo Courtesy of Better Off Red.
So, what do you do with Bubba Starling on a list like this?
With his size and speed, he's got all the talent he needs to be an instant-impact freshman if he takes the field. But he also has, or soon will have, an offer from the Kansas City Royals for a freight train full of money to turn down football.
Starling is a hometown kid from Kansas, and the talent already in the Royals' system could make them legitimate contenders by the time Starling would be ready for Kaufmann Stadium. So, it's almost assured that the Royals will write the necessary check to convince Starling to leave Lincoln. While he might be the most athletically gifted of all Nebraska's 2011 recruits, it's almost a certainty that he'll never see the inside of Memorial Stadium, except with a ticket.
Photo Courtesy of Husker Extra.
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