University of Nebraska Football Position Breakdowns: I-Backs

Big Red NetworkSenior Writer IApril 22, 2008

Now that we have about as much information as we can expect to get between now and fall practices about the depth chart, we'll examine each position to identify the likely starters and other key contributors.

Outlook: Running back is easily the deepest position on the team. In addition to five scholarship players competing at the position in the spring, three recruits are set to arrive in the fall. Even if a rash of injuries plagued the running backs, Cody Glenn and Major Culbert could quickly be called on to shore up the position. The only worry here is keeping everyone happy.

Incumbent: Marlon Lucky had over 1,000 yards rushing, 75 receptions, and 1762 total yards to lead the Huskers in all three categories. Only injury would seem able to keep him from starting.

Rising Star: Roy Helu has been making a lot of noise this Spring and could easily finish the year as the #2 man behind Lucky and as the favorite to be #1 in 2009.

In-The-Mix: Quentin Castille’s size (245 lbs.) sets him apart from the rest of the running backs. The number two man a year ago seems likely to see time in short-yardage and goal-line situations but could also come in as a closer to pound losing teams into submission.

Enigma: Marcus Mendoza arrived with high expectations as a four-star recruit. While there’s been some praise of him this spring it’s hard to see him cracking the top three spots and he’ll have to fight to remain fourth. He’d seem to be a natural return man on special teams but his ability to secure the ball could be a question. With his size (185 lbs.), you’d never expect him to be a 20 carry per game back.

Odd Man Out?: At one time, Kenny Wilson seemed like he could be Nebraska’s top back, but injuries seem likely to keep him from fully realizing his potential. As things stand, he’ll have to fight to be the fourth back on the depth chart in the fall.

On The Horizon: Collins Okafor, Justin Rogers and Lester Ward arrive in the fall. Okafor seems the most physically ready to contribute but given the number of returning players it would make sense for all the newcomers to redshirt unless they can find a role on special teams or at another position.