Nebraska coach Bo Pelini was up front with names Tuesday, saying defensive end Avery Moss, defensive tackle Aaron Curry, I-back Imani Cross and fullback Andy Janovich look to be the Husker true freshmen with the best chance to play this season.
With preparations for Southern Mississippi about to start, let’s take a look at why:
>> Curry comes as no real surprise because of the Huskers’ possibly thin ranks at defensive tackle, where Thad Randle is dinged up and Todd Peat only joined practice on Monday. NU is looking for help behind Baker Steinkuhler, Chase Rome, Randle, Jay Guy, Kevin Williams and Kenny Anderson.
Curry is a 6-foot-1, 280-pounder from Keller, Texas.
“I mean, we need another guy,” Rome said. “He’s a guy that I trust, and we’ll go out there and he’ll learn. He’ll learn like I learned.”
>> Cross’ situation probably has to do with a combination of his size and the offseason loss of Aaron Green at I-back. The 6-1, 225-pounder from Gainesville, Ga., gives NU a possible thumper to go with Rex Burkhead, Ameer Abdullah and Braylon Heard.
>> Moss likely is having a solid camp, considering the Huskers have Cameron Meredith, Jason Ankrah, Eric Martin, Joseph Carter and several other returnees at defensive end, as well as hyped freshman Greg McMullen. Moss is a 6-2, 260-pounder from Tempe, Ariz.
>> Pelini said Janovich “is a guy that’s fighting for the opportunity, at least on special teams, and maybe down the line at fullback.” NU also has Mike Marrow and C.J. Zimmerer at fullback.
Janovich is a 6-1, 215-pound walk-on from Gretna.
“I know this: Janovich is a smart kid, he’s a fast kid, he can catch the ball, he’s a real fluid athlete,” NU assistant coach Ron Brown said. “I think he’s going to be able to do the inside stuff that a fullback can do.”
However, Pelini said there’s a long way to go until the Sept. 1 opener and Brown pointed out that evaluations of the freshmen don’t stop at the end of preseason camp.
“There’s a lot of guys in the mix, but it’s kind of how it plays out,” Pelini said.