Nebraska offensive tackle Matt Finnin — a top junior-college recruit in the 2013 class who turned down Oklahoma and Ohio State to attend NU — said on Twitter Wednesday he intends to produce more in his second year.
Finnin played sparingly in 2013, but the Huskers were rotating three seniors — Jeremiah Sirles, Brent Qvale and Andrew Rodriguez — at the position. It’s worth noting that former Husker and NFL All-Pro guard Carl Nicks only started two games in his first year at Nebraska, and Ricky Henry, a fine two-year starter who transferred from a JUCO, redshirted his first year. So did Chongo Kondolo. So it’s not a stunner than Finnin didn’t take a senior’s job after a few months on campus.
Finnin received a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA and has two years of eligibility left. He and Hastings St. Cecilia junior-to-be Zach Sterup played in mop-up duty this year. Both will contend for starting jobs at tackle, as will junior Alex Lewis — the Colorado transfer is now on the roster, but he’s had a long road to this point — redshirt freshman David Knevel and true freshman Nick Gates, once he enrolls.
So the tackle spot looks like this:
Of those four, Lewis has the most Division FBS playing experience and is the only one who’s started a game at that level.
I’m not including Mick Stoltenberg, who won’t be one year recovered from a severe knee injury by the time he enrolls at Nebraska (and may not even play offensive tackle) or Dwayne Johnson, a redshirt freshman who was recruited as a tackle but seems a better fit for an interior spot. If Johnson, Givens Price (Mike’l Severe add-on) or a guy like Kondolo get a look at tackle, we’ll report it. If Gates is what coaches think he’ll be, though, he could get early playing time as a true freshman.