By Hayden Flanders
After so much NFL talk by me, I thought I would give it a back seat for this week. However, the topic of football is NOT going anywhere. I live by the saying “Football: There is No offseason!” More truth to that than most people know. . . for instance, the NFL season ends after the Super Bowl, but as soon as the Super Bowl ends, so begins NFL Draft season, and Free Agency (although this year is different due to the labor disaster. . .) and with College Football, as soon as the Bowl Season ends, recruiting begins.
But now, recruiting is done, and the teams all signed their respective recruiting classes. Our Nebraska Cornhuskers came away with a pretty good recruiting class, led by the signings of JUCO (Junior College) transfer, safety Daimion Stafford, running back Aaron Green, and high profile quarterbacks Derek “Bubba” Starling, and Jamal Turner. However, one of these players may not stay with the program come this May.
This upcoming May the Major League Baseball draft will be held, and Bubba Starling is slated to go between picks 1 and 5 in the 1st round of that draft. . .yes, he’s THAT good at baseball, Oh, he’s also good at basketball as well. In high school he was the best there was at what he did, no matter what sport. They say that if he would’ve run track as well, they most likely would’ve taken state. So Husker nation is holding their breath, waiting, and wondering to see if they may get what some are calling, the Next Great College Quarterback, or, for lack of a better term, swing and miss on a possibly amazing player. We can only wait, and see.
Jamal Turner has started to show some serious prowess in the spring practices that have been completed so far, but news that broke yesterday (Thursday, March 31st 2011) is that Turner has been switched from QB to Wide Receiver to attempt to get him on the field the same time as QB Taylor Martinez, and RB Rex Burkhead to give our offense an extra dimension.
Speaking of spring practice, the Huskers have taken the field to install new offensive coordinator Tim Becks’ offense, one that is said to be much simpler, and more explosive than that of Shawn Watsons. Martinez has begun his battle to retain his starting job from Cody Green, and Redshirt Freshman Brion Carnes. Most experts have Martinez pegged as the starter again this season, but we’ll have to wait and see what kind of battle Green and Carnes can give him, I’m going to go on record myself, and say that Martinez will be the QB, and Green the #2 again, but DO NOT, I repeat, DO. NOT. Count out Brion Carnes, The redshirt freshman was said to have some SERIOUS ability on his side, and may give Martinez a run for his money. I, for one, don’t think Carnes will actually Start, but I DO think he will see some snaps at some point this season, along with Cody Green, but Martinez will be the starting quarterback.
The running back position has become much more muddled however, with the exception of Rex Burkhead of course. We have two freshman coming in, Aaron Green, as I mentioned earlier, and Ameer Abdullah. Both of these running backs are said to have top end, Elite speed, with Green being the “better” one of the two. Also a running back who was supposed to be in the program last year will be joining the program this year, Braylon Heard, another player who is said to have Top end speed. I think I can safely say, the Huskers are adding some serious speed to the offense this year.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Huskers will have to replace graduated cornerback Prince Amukamara, defensive end Pierre Allen, and safety Eric Hagg. Stafford, the previously mentioned JUCO transfer safety will definitely be in the mix to replace Hagg. Amukamara will be much harder to replace, although words gotten out that redshirt freshman Harvey Jackson has been making some noise in camp, but I want you to also look out for incoming freshman Charles Jackson to be in the mix as well. He was HIGHLY rated, and highly recruited, but luckily for us, chose Nebraska over schools like Arkansas and Auburn. Allen will be the easiest to replace, with some candidates already in place, like Terrance Moore who played some downs last year for the blackshirts.
Husker leader Jared Crick is out for the rest of the spring with a knee sprain, so we won’t see him this spring, look for redshirt freshman Chase Rome to take his spot in spring rotation.
Well, these are just some of my many thoughts on the upcoming 2011-2012 campaign, and maiden voyage into the Big Ten conference. I will hopefully have more as the spring rolls on, and the spring game is played! And of course . . . GO BIG RED!!