The ballers. The bruisers. The big-play starters. From now until fall camp, The World-Herald will count down the Husker Watch List — NU’s top 50 players heading into the 2013 season. The top stars are here, as are a few surprises. The list is sorted by the players’ impact on the team, the importance of their position and their potential to improve — or in the case of new players, contribute. The list is long, but remember: Each year, a player or two off the radar make an unexpected leap into the lineup. At the end of the season, we’ll revisit the list and see where we were right — and which players surpassed our expectations. The list starts today with the honorable mentions:
|Click here to see previous entries in the Husker Camp Countdown series.|
» Brodrick Nickens: The senior walk-on from Alliance switched from offense to defense to help the Huskers bolster their line. Coaches hopes he can duplicate Justin Jackson’s success from 2012, when Jackson moved from defense to center.
» Mark Pelini: The backup center and nephew of head coach Bo Pelini may give way to Cole Pensick as a starter, but he’ll be a handy backup.
» Courtney Love: The true freshman enrolled early and impressed teammates with beyond-his-years strength. He’ll play on special teams and battle for time at linebacker.
» Maliek Collins: A true freshman defensive tackle with the frame — 6-foot-3, 305 pounds — and athleticism (undefeated Missouri state champion wrestler) to be a star. Defensive line coach Rick Kaczenski is excited to work with him.
» A.J. Natter: A polished true freshman defensive end with the mental maturity to play early in Nebraska’s system if he’s up for it.
» Jonathan Rose: This Auburn transfer is battling for playing time in a crowded Husker secondary. If his time isn’t in 2013, it will be soon. Position coach Terry Joseph likes his versatility.
» Sam Foltz: The Grand Island redshirt freshman is the odds-on favorite to punt for Nebraska, but still needs to win the job. NU’s offense may be so explosive this year that Foltz’s work is limited.
» Daniel Davie: The Beatrice sophomore is one of the fastest players on the team. He’s a No. 2 corner for now.
» Johnny Stanton: It’s a uphill climb to burning a redshirt for NU’s 2013 quarterback recruit. Still, Stanton’s is a gifted, physical runner. He’s also a leader of some repute. It’ll be intriguing to see how he fits in during preseason camp.
» Josh Banderas: The local star at linebacker may redshirt as a freshman, but his speed, aggression and athleticism might find him a spot on special teams, too.