50 Huskers in Review: Nos. 30-26

By at January 12, 2010 | 10:08 AM | Print

In the summer and fall, Husker Locker created its “50 Huskers to Know” list for the 2009 season. We now review our list by examining production, injuries and depth chart position.

We’ll present these in five-player increments. Here we go!

No. 30 Marcus Mendoza: We thought he’d be Shawn Watson’s secret weapon. We were wrong. Mendoza switched away from wide receiver back to running back, never got involved in the offense and has an uncertain role for the future. The guy who tore up NU’s defense on scout team has simply never earned the on-field playing time to show his skills. Thus far, Mendoza, a likable kid who remains one of the fastest players on the team, is a bust.

No. 29 Kody Spano: Tore his ACL again in fall camp and spend the season rehabbing – again. He was rushed back from the first ACL tear too quickly, in our estimation, and, as a result, was practicing when he shouldn’t have been. It’s to Spano’s credit that he never groused about it once. Of course, he can’t talk to the media, either.

No. 28 Jared Crick: Exploded in 2009 with a year that would have been even more memorable had Ndamukong Suh not stolen some of Crick’s thunder. Still, it’s Crick – not Suh – who owns the school’s single-game sack record with five vs. Baylor. And what a day for Crick to have done it, in front of a giant posse of his family on hand in Waco.

No. 27 Phillip Dillard: Sat out the first two games – wasn’t good enough, if you can actually buy that – before starting vs. Virginia Tech. He took over for Will Compton in the Missouri and Texas Tech games – and never sat the bench again. Dillard plowed through some differences with the coaching staff to become the most productive linebacker NU’s had since the 2005 season. Good against screens and draws, equally deft in pass coverage, Dillard is a testament to buying into the system – then biding your time as the coaches work out their own biases. It’s one heck of a success story that grew out of a cautionary tale.

No. 26 Marcel Jones: By the time he finally began to play up to his athleticism and potential late in year, Marcel Jones got hurt and was replaced by D.J. Jones for the bulk of the Big 12 Championship and Holiday Bowl. Marcel Jones remains a work in progress who is overpowered by stronger ends and doesn’t always get out on the quicker ones. In the run game, he’s improving, but isn’t suited for an option attack that asks for his giant frame to crack block and cut block.

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