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Official Husker Locker Blog

2011 Mar 22

SPRING FOOTBALL: 5 Camp 'Sleepers'


By HuskerLocker

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We've already identified ten prove-it players for spring football. Now – here's five sleepers to keep nestled in the back of your brain as we progress over the next month. These are guys who haven't been projected to make a splash – yet.

Cornerback Antonio Bell: He spent the 2010 season transitioning from wide receiver to corner, and defensive coordinator Carl Pelini said he began to pick up the defense by the end of last fall. A 6-2, 190 pounds, he'll battle Ciante Evans for the starting job at field corner – we're presuming Alfonzo Dennard becomes the boundary “lockdown” guy now that Prince Amukamara has graduated.

Wide receiver KC Hyland: Arguably NU's tallest pass-catcher – 6-6, 215 - since Matt Herian, this walk-on has a scout team reputation for catching nearly every pass thrown his way. Now a junior, he'll get a chance to compete for playing time among a relatively-unproven corps of wide receivers. Hyland is probably a backup to Brandon Kinnie right now, but that could change over the course of the next five months. New position coach Rich Fisher is likely to play the guys who can read defenses well, get open, and block well enough on zone read plays.

Running back Ty Kildow: He moves from wide receiver to the position he played until his junior year in high school. Kildow shredded his knee in a 7-on-7 competition the summer before his senior year, likely costing him a football scholarship. The 5-7, 180-pounder is back to full speed and strength, and he could be an interesting option as a punt returner – where he excelled in high school. Kildow has the speed – and he's hard to find.

Tight end Jake Long: Nebraska's depleted tight end corps means At 6-4, 240, Long, a walk-on sophomore, will get a long look as the No. 3 overall tight end – and perhaps the No. 2 guy on power running formations. A pre-med major, he's plenty smart enough to pick up the Huskers' new simplified offense, and he's put on good weight to help his heft and strength on running plays. Just 10-15 years ago, Long probably would have been a scholarship guy at NU. He has a chance to earn one by the time he's done.

Linebacker Graham Stoddard: He's certainly no sleeper on special teams, where he had an impressive 11 tackles last season. Stoddard, a junior walk-on, will vie for time at linebacker, where his 6-2, 235-pound frame could come in handy against some of power-running teams the Huskers will face in the Big Ten. If Nebraska struggles at all with injuries there – Stoddard could be the guy.

See also: Husker Monday Takes - On Barney, Beck and OL Depth

Tags: spring football 2011, antonio bell, ty kildow, kc hyland, graham stoddard, jake long

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