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  1. 2011 Apr 08

    50 HUSKERS TO KNOW: No. 1

    1,081 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    The 50 Huskers to Know returns for the 2011 spring season! We count down the players you absolutely have to watch heading into spring football, culminating with No. 1 during NU's spring break.

    The spring list, remember, is about players who are currently in the program, with an emphasis on redshirt freshmen and sophomores who might not have played much yet; in the fall, you'll see a list with more projected starters and incoming contributing recruits.

    Not included on this list is wide receiver Khiry Cooper, who spends the spring with the Husker baseball team.

    No. 1 Cornerback Alfonzo Dennard

    Let's talk for a second about what kind of confidence it really takes to win a conference championship. It's swagger – that small sense of strut that announces “I'll take on any guy on this field.” The top Husker to know on our list has that. Dennard, at 5-foot-10, 205 pounds, isn't the bigger defensive back on any roster. But he plays big. He thrives in the moment. He's physical. He dares the opposing receiver to beat him to a spot. He dares the quarterback to throw that deep ball. When a great receiver torches Prince Amukamara in the first half of the Oklahoma State game, Dennard goes over the sideline and bellows that he wants his shot at Justin Blackmon. The coaches give it to him.

    It's a joy to watch the senior from south-central Georgia because he plays out there on the edge, where exciting players live. Dennard isn't perfect. Sometimes he gets burned. Sometimes he misses a tackle. But, like great Nebraska cornerback Barron Miles in the 1990s, Dennard wants one more play, one more shot. He'll take his chances because he likes his chances.

    So do we.

    See all 50 Huskers!

    No. 50, No. 49, No. 48, No. 47, No. 46, No. 45, No. 44, No. 43, No. 42, No. 41, No. 40, No. 39, No. 38, No. 37, No. 36, No. 35, No. 34, No. 33, No. 32, No. 31, No. 30, No. 29, No. 28, No. 27, No. 26, No. 25, No. 24, No. 23, No. 22, No. 21, No. 20, No. 19, No. 18, No. 17, No. 16, No. 15, No. 14, No. 13, No. 12, No. 11, No. 10, No. 9, No. 8, No. 7, No. 6, No. 5, No. 4, No. 3, No. 2

    Tags: 50 huskers to know spring 2011, alfonzo dennard

  2. 2011 Apr 06

    50 HUSKERS TO KNOW: No. 2

    2,078 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    The 50 Huskers to Know returns for the 2011 spring season! We count down the players you absolutely have to watch heading into spring football, culminating with No. 1 during NU's spring break.

    The spring list, remember, is about players who are currently in the program, with an emphasis on redshirt freshmen and sophomores who might not have played much yet; in the fall, you'll see a list with more projected starters and incoming contributing recruits.

    Not included on this list is wide receiver Khiry Cooper, who spends the spring with the Husker baseball team.

    No. 2 Running back Rex Burkhead

    Here is the glue of the Huskers' offense, that one dependable, versatile guy who can do a little bit of everything over the course of a game, and knows how to gain two yards when you need one. Burkhead's numbers over two years at NU have been good – but that doesn't entirely measure his impact on the team. Aside from a few bizarre, somewhat forced miscues as a Wildcat quarterback late last season, Burkhead doesn't turn the ball over. He can stay in on passing downs to catch or pass block. He can return punts in a pinch. He plays through injuries. He's a guy you want on your side – period.

    And, subtly, he's become more of a leader this spring. He already was a leader by example. Now he's speaking up a bit more, taking more ownership and standing out even more than he did. Burkhead isn't the type to hog the spotlight. But it finds him just the same.

    See all 50 Huskers!

    No. 50, No. 49, No. 48, No. 47, No. 46, No. 45, No. 44, No. 43, No. 42, No. 41, No. 40, No. 39, No. 38, No. 37, No. 36, No. 35, No. 34, No. 33, No. 32, No. 31, No. 30, No. 29, No. 28, No. 27, No. 26, No. 25, No. 24, No. 23, No. 22, No. 21, No. 20, No. 19, No. 18, No. 17, No. 16, No. 15, No. 14, No. 13, No. 12, No. 11, No. 10, No. 9, No. 8, No. 7, No. 6, No. 5, No. 4, No. 3

    Tags: 50 huskers to know spring 2011, rex burkhead

  3. 2011 Apr 01

    50 HUSKERS TO KNOW: No. 3

    3,865 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    The 50 Huskers to Know returns for the 2011 spring season! We count down the players you absolutely have to watch heading into spring football, culminating with No. 1 during NU's spring break.

    The spring list, remember, is about players who are currently in the program, with an emphasis on redshirt freshmen and sophomores who might not have played much yet; in the fall, you'll see a list with more projected starters and incoming contributing recruits.

    Not included on this list is wide receiver Khiry Cooper, who spends the spring with the Husker baseball team.

    No. 3 Linebacker LaVonte David

    The biggest and best defensive surprise of the 2010 season, David is trying to put on more pounds to improve his sturdiness on inside running plays – a staple of the Big Ten power running teams. David is already terrific running laterally to outside plays and as a blitzer on the field. He's one of the few linebackers in college football who can consistently meet runners on tosses, pitches and sweeps behind the line of scrimmage. Where he'll need to improve is in diagnosing plays and getting to the ballcarrier without getting blown off the ball by a fat guard.

    David's numbers may not be quite as eye-popping in 2011 as they were in 2010. But he could be a more complete player.

    See all 50 Huskers!

    No. 50, No. 49, No. 48, No. 47, No. 46, No. 45, No. 44, No. 43, No. 42, No. 41, No. 40, No. 39, No. 38, No. 37, No. 36, No. 35, No. 34, No. 33, No. 32, No. 31, No. 30, No. 29, No. 28, No. 27, No. 26, No. 25, No. 24, No. 23, No. 22, No. 21, No. 20, No. 19, No. 18, No. 17, No. 16, No. 15, No. 14, No. 13, No. 12, No. 11, No. 10, No. 9, No. 8, No. 7, No. 6, No. 5, No. 4

    Tags: 50 huskers to know spring 2011, lavonte david

  4. 2011 Apr 01

    50 HUSKERS TO KNOW: No. 4

    4,546 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    The 50 Huskers to Know returns for the 2011 spring season! We count down the players you absolutely have to watch heading into spring football, culminating with No. 1 during NU's spring break.

    The spring list, remember, is about players who are currently in the program, with an emphasis on redshirt freshmen and sophomores who might not have played much yet; in the fall, you'll see a list with more projected starters and incoming contributing recruits.

    Not included on this list is wide receiver Khiry Cooper, who spends the spring with the Husker baseball team.

    No. 4 Quarterback Taylor Martinez

    He's back close to 100 percent, he appears ready to talk the media on a more regular basis and the offense should be geared to better suit his talents. Martinez certainly hasn't wrested the QB job away from his competitors, but his playmaking ability – and experience with adversity – will give him a leg up throughout spring.

    The keys for Martinez are improving his passing mechanics, his ability to read defenses and his skill for delivery passes to receivers in an intermediate range downfield. As a runner, his skills are pretty well known, although he has to do a better job of actually reading defenders on the zone read instead guessing before the snap, then falling into an obvious trap set by defensive coordinators.

    See all 50 Huskers!

    No. 50, No. 49, No. 48, No. 47, No. 46, No. 45, No. 44, No. 43, No. 42, No. 41, No. 40, No. 39, No. 38, No. 37, No. 36, No. 35, No. 34, No. 33, No. 32, No. 31, No. 30, No. 29, No. 28, No. 27, No. 26, No. 25, No. 24, No. 23, No. 22, No. 21, No. 20, No. 19, No. 18, No. 17, No. 16, No. 15, No. 14, No. 13, No. 12, No. 11, No. 10, No. 9, No. 8, No. 7, No. 6, No. 5

    Tags: 50 huskers to know spring 2011, taylor martinez

  5. 2011 Mar 31

    50 HUSKERS TO KNOW: No. 5

    3,012 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    The 50 Huskers to Know returns for the 2011 spring season! We count down the players you absolutely have to watch heading into spring football, culminating with No. 1 during NU's spring break.

    The spring list, remember, is about players who are currently in the program, with an emphasis on redshirt freshmen and sophomores who might not have played much yet; in the fall, you'll see a list with more projected starters and incoming contributing recruits.

    Not included on this list is wide receiver Khiry Cooper, who spends the spring with the Husker baseball team.

    No. 5 Defensive lineman Jared Crick

    A knee sprain – and that's all it appears to be – shouldn't slow down Crick one whit over the summer, which should help keep him fresh for the 2011 season. Crick's already accomplished plenty in his NU career, and we don't expect his production to taper much. Where he'll play a larger role in 2011 is with vocal leadership for a defense making the transition to a brand new league.

    As a player, Crick needs to improve his leverage and technique against the run and continue to maintain that speed edge he has a pass rusher.


    See all 50 Huskers!

    No. 50, No. 49, No. 48, No. 47, No. 46, No. 45, No. 44, No. 43, No. 42, No. 41, No. 40, No. 39, No. 38, No. 37, No. 36, No. 35, No. 34, No. 33, No. 32, No. 31, No. 30, No. 29, No. 28, No. 27, No. 26, No. 25, No. 24, No. 23, No. 22, No. 21, No. 20, No. 19, No. 18, No. 17, No. 16, No. 15, No. 14, No. 13, No. 12, No. 11, No. 10, No. 9, No. 8, No. 7, No. 6

    Tags: 50 huskers to know spring 2011, jared crick

  6. 2011 Mar 31

    50 HUSKERS TO KNOW: No. 6

    2,925 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    The 50 Huskers to Know returns for the 2011 spring season! We count down the players you absolutely have to watch heading into spring football, culminating with No. 1 during NU's spring break.

    The spring list, remember, is about players who are currently in the program, with an emphasis on redshirt freshmen and sophomores who might not have played much yet; in the fall, you'll see a list with more projected starters and incoming contributing recruits.

    Not included on this list is wide receiver Khiry Cooper, who spends the spring with the Husker baseball team.

    No. 6 Defensive end Cameron Meredith

    No. 34 will obviously be sitting out spring for the Husker while rehabbing his shoulders. All expectations are that Meredith will be ready to roll for summer conditioning.

    At 6-foot-4, 260 pounds, Meredith is a really versatile guy who can play inside or outside on the defensive line, or can stand up and play a hybrid position at linebacker. He'll spend the spring learning mental details of his role that will help him in the fall. It's similar to the journey Ndamukong Suh before his junior season, and Meredith will be better off for it.

    See all 50 Huskers!

    No. 50, No. 49, No. 48, No. 47, No. 46, No. 45, No. 44, No. 43, No. 42, No. 41, No. 40, No. 39, No. 38, No. 37, No. 36, No. 35, No. 34, No. 33, No. 32, No. 31, No. 30, No. 29, No. 28, No. 27, No. 26, No. 25, No. 24, No. 23, No. 22, No. 21, No. 20, No. 19, No. 18, No. 17, No. 16, No. 15, No. 14, No. 13, No. 12, No. 11, No. 10, No. 9, No. 8, No. 7

    Tags: 50 huskers to know spring 2011, cameron meredith

  7. 2011 Mar 31

    50 HUSKERS TO KNOW: No. 7

    2,883 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    The 50 Huskers to Know returns for the 2011 spring season! We count down the players you absolutely have to watch heading into spring football, culminating with No. 1 during NU's spring break.

    The spring list, remember, is about players who are currently in the program, with an emphasis on redshirt freshmen and sophomores who might not have played much yet; in the fall, you'll see a list with more projected starters and incoming contributing recruits.

    Not included on this list is wide receiver Khiry Cooper, who spends the spring with the Husker baseball team.

    No. 7 Wide receiver Brandon Kinnie

    With apologies to Niles Paul, Kinnie emerged as Nebraska's most dependable wide receiver by the end of season, if not its best deep threat – because of his ability to make plays near the goal line, his penchant for breaking tackles and his consistent effort in blocking. Paul had more talent and big-play skills, but Kinnie seemed to bring the lunch pail more often. It'll serve No. 84 well in his senior campaign as he leads a young, spirited group of receivers.

    The 6-foot-3, 225-pounder is a pretty classic possession receiver with the running ability to do something after the catch. Kinnie doesn't have blazing speed, but he's an efficient runner, not wasting a lot of zig-zagging around. As such, he's tough to tackle, because he doesn't slow down to evade guys. And college corners don't always like taking on a guy of Kinnie's size.

    Kinnie will also be an important vocal leader for an offense that needs it.

    See all 50 Huskers!

    No. 50, No. 49, No. 48, No. 47, No. 46, No. 45, No. 44, No. 43, No. 42, No. 41, No. 40, No. 39, No. 38, No. 37, No. 36, No. 35, No. 34, No. 33, No. 32, No. 31, No. 30, No. 29, No. 28, No. 27, No. 26, No. 25, No. 24, No. 23, No. 22, No. 21, No. 20, No. 19, No. 18, No. 17, No. 16, No. 15, No. 14, No. 13, No. 12, No. 11, No. 10, No. 9, No. 8

    Tags: 50 huskers to know spring 2011, brandon kinnie

  8. 2011 Mar 27

    50 HUSKERS TO KNOW: No. 8

    3,587 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    The 50 Huskers to Know returns for the 2011 spring season! We count down the players you absolutely have to watch heading into spring football, culminating with No. 1 during NU's spring break.

    The spring list, remember, is about players who are currently in the program, with an emphasis on redshirt freshmen and sophomores who might not have played much yet; in the fall, you'll see a list with more projected starters and incoming contributing recruits.

    Not included on this list is wide receiver Khiry Cooper, who spends the spring with the Husker baseball team.

    No. 8 Tight end Kyler Reed

    It's fun to watch athletes make “the jump,” and this 6-foot-3, 230-pounder certainly did that in his sophomore season, emerging as NU's top receiving deep threat and goal-line option by the end of the year. He caught 22 passes for 395 yards and eight touchdowns, making him one of the most dangerous tight ends in the country.

    Reed's speed makes him a tough matchup for linebackers; his size makes him a tough matchup for nickel corners. That often means Reed is matched up on safeties, many of whom don't count “pass coverage” as one of their top talents. Reed gets to his deep post routes so quickly that he certainly seems like a slot receiver; he knows how to dip his shoulders and fake his head movements to get safeties moving in the wrong direction, too.

    He's become a passable enough blocker to stay in the game for “heavy” formations of 2-3 tight ends. That makes Reed more dangerous, because defenses don't necessarily know when a pass is in the works.

    See all 50 Huskers!

    No. 50, No. 49, No. 48, No. 47, No. 46, No. 45, No. 44, No. 43, No. 42, No. 41, No. 40, No. 39, No. 38, No. 37, No. 36, No. 35, No. 34, No. 33, No. 32, No. 31, No. 30, No. 29, No. 28, No. 27, No. 26, No. 25, No. 24, No. 23, No. 22, No. 21, No. 20, No. 19, No. 18, No. 17, No. 16, No. 15, No. 14, No. 13, No. 12, No. 11, No. 10, No. 9

    Tags: 50 huskers to know spring 2011, kyler reed

  9. 2011 Mar 27

    50 HUSKERS TO KNOW: No. 9

    3,726 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    The 50 Huskers to Know returns for the 2011 spring season! We count down the players you absolutely have to watch heading into spring football, culminating with No. 1 during NU's spring break.

    The spring list, remember, is about players who are currently in the program, with an emphasis on redshirt freshmen and sophomores who might not have played much yet; in the fall, you'll see a list with more projected starters and incoming contributing recruits.

    Not included on this list is wide receiver Khiry Cooper, who spends the spring with the Husker baseball team.

    No. 9 Quarterback Cody Green

    NU's No. 2 signal caller for much of last season secured two important Big 12 wins over Iowa State and Colorado with steady leadership and clutch third-down passing. He wasn't so effective during a stint in the Texas A&M game or the first Washington contest, where his mistakes led to turnovers. Because Green hasn't been a spectacular playmaker in his first two seasons, he can't afford to make bad throws or cough up fumbles in a scrum. You never can, of course – but Green hasn't shown a real penchant, at least not yet, for making up for his errors with big chunks of yardage.

    A simplified offense may help unleash Green's talents, though. He can be a powerful runner and a decent passer when in rhythm. Shawn Watson's West Coast Offense seemed to make Green think too much and distrust his throws a little bit. He commands the huddle well, has the respect of his teammates and speaks for the offense when now-sophomore Taylor Martinez sometimes has not.

    Can he beat Martinez for the job? He'll really need to pass the ball well during spring; that's his one advantage over not just Martinez, but most of the Husker quarterbacks. If Green can settle his feet and throw over the top like he's supposed to, he can be a better-than-average college quarterback. And with Nebraska's defense, that might be enough for a league crown.

    See all 50 Huskers!

    No. 50, No. 49, No. 48, No. 47, No. 46, No. 45, No. 44, No. 43, No. 42, No. 41, No. 40, No. 39, No. 38, No. 37, No. 36, No. 35, No. 34, No. 33, No. 32, No. 31, No. 30, No. 29, No. 28, No. 27, No. 26, No. 25, No. 24, No. 23, No. 22, No. 21, No. 20, No. 19, No. 18, No. 17, No. 16, No. 15, No. 14, No. 13, No. 12, No. 11, No. 10

    Tags: 50 huskers to know spring 2011, cody green

  10. 2011 Mar 25

    50 HUSKERS TO KNOW: No. 10

    4,211 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    The 50 Huskers to Know returns for the 2011 spring season! We count down the players you absolutely have to watch heading into spring football, culminating with No. 1 during NU's spring break.

    The spring list, remember, is about players who are currently in the program, with an emphasis on redshirt freshmen and sophomores who might not have played much yet; in the fall, you'll see a list with more projected starters and incoming contributing recruits.

    Not included on this list is wide receiver Khiry Cooper, who spends the spring with the Husker baseball team.

    No. 10 Safety Courtney Osborne

    Before last season, several pundits – including us – wondered if either of the Osborne twins would significantly contribute – beyond being great recruiting hosts – in their time at Nebraska. Courtney certainly made a big impact on the defense during the last half of the season with his aggressive tackling and sharp blitzing ability. Not only did Osborne fit in to one of the nation's best defenses – he was a playmaker in it.

    Now he just needs to smooth out some of the rough edges in his pass coverage. Osborne already is a valuable run support guy. Now, it boils down to not biting on playaction fakes – more frequent in the Big Ten – and making sure speedy slot receivers don't slip behind him.

    See all 50 Huskers!

    No. 50, No. 49, No. 48, No. 47, No. 46, No. 45, No. 44, No. 43, No. 42, No. 41, No. 40, No. 39, No. 38, No. 37, No. 36, No. 35, No. 34, No. 33, No. 32, No. 31, No. 30, No. 29, No. 28, No. 27, No. 26, No. 25, No. 24, No. 23, No. 22, No. 21, No. 20, No. 19, No. 18, No. 17, No. 16, No. 15, No. 14, No. 13, No. 12, No. 11

    Tags: 50 huskers to know spring 2011, courtney osborne

  11. 2011 Mar 25

    50 HUSKERS TO KNOW: No. 11

    3,923 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    The 50 Huskers to Know returns for the 2011 spring season! We count down the players you absolutely have to watch heading into spring football, culminating with No. 1 during NU's spring break.

    The spring list, remember, is about players who are currently in the program, with an emphasis on redshirt freshmen and sophomores who might not have played much yet; in the fall, you'll see a list with more projected starters and incoming contributing recruits.

    Not included on this list is wide receiver Khiry Cooper, who spends the spring with the Husker baseball team.

    No. 11 Center Mike Caputo

    We consider this position among the most important on the team, and considering Nebraska's history at the position, so do NU fans. Caputo is the latest Husker to take the job. Although just 6-foot-1, 275 pounds, he's an agile, active player who plays well in space, executes reach and combo blocks well, and is a surprisingly good puller on power plays.

    Where he has struggled – especially after he hurt a leg midway through last season – is when opponents lined up a fat, hard-to-move nose tackle right across from him. Caputo couldn't always handle the size, and the physical disparity seemed to affect NU's running game and even some of Caputo's snaps. Nebraska must figure out a way to scheme around a 3-4 look – or Caputo must find a way to handle bigger guys who line up right across from him.

    See all 50 Huskers!

    No. 50, No. 49, No. 48, No. 47, No. 46, No. 45, No. 44, No. 43, No. 42, No. 41, No. 40, No. 39, No. 38, No. 37, No. 36, No. 35, No. 34, No. 33, No. 32, No. 31, No. 30, No. 29, No. 28, No. 27, No. 26, No. 25, No. 24, No. 23, No. 22, No. 21, No. 20, No. 19, No. 18, No. 17, No. 16, No. 15, No. 14, No. 13, No. 12

    Tags: 50 huskers to know spring 2011, mike caputo

  12. 2011 Mar 24

    50 HUSKERS TO KNOW: No. 12

    4,177 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    The 50 Huskers to Know returns for the 2011 spring season! We count down the players you absolutely have to watch heading into spring football, culminating with No. 1 during NU's spring break.

    The spring list, remember, is about players who are currently in the program, with an emphasis on redshirt freshmen and sophomores who might not have played much yet; in the fall, you'll see a list with more projected starters and incoming contributing recruits.

    Not included on this list is wide receiver Khiry Cooper, who spends the spring with the Husker baseball team.

    No. 12 Defensive tackle Baker Steinkuhler

    The debate is over: Steinkuhler is a defensive tackle. He's not going to be making the switch to the offensive line after a strong 2010 season: 46 tackles, 3.5 and four tackles for loss. Steinkuhler started the season stronger than he probably ended it – the wear-and-tear of his first full starting year clearly took its toll over time. His suspension for being arrested for a DUI capped the year; Nebraska handled that problem swiftly and has moved on.

    Steinkuhler's 6-foot-6 length isn't ideal for a job in the trenches, but he manages it well enough. This year, he'll be asked to play the run more and continue to develop as an interior pass rusher. Steinkuhler has strength; he would do well to develop a move or two.

    See all 50 Huskers!

    No. 50, No. 49, No. 48, No. 47, No. 46, No. 45, No. 44, No. 43, No. 42, No. 41, No. 40, No. 39, No. 38, No. 37, No. 36, No. 35, No. 34, No. 33, No. 32, No. 31, No. 30, No. 29, No. 28, No. 27, No. 26, No. 25, No. 24, No. 23, No. 22, No. 21, No. 20, No. 19, No. 18, No. 17, No. 16, No. 15, No. 14, No. 13

    Tags: 50 huskers to know spring 2011, baker steinkuhler

  13. 2011 Mar 24

    50 HUSKERS TO KNOW: No. 13

    4,008 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    The 50 Huskers to Know returns for the 2011 spring season! We count down the players you absolutely have to watch heading into spring football, culminating with No. 1 during NU's spring break.

    The spring list, remember, is about players who are currently in the program, with an emphasis on redshirt freshmen and sophomores who might not have played much yet; in the fall, you'll see a list with more projected starters and incoming contributing recruits.

    Not included on this list is wide receiver Khiry Cooper, who spends the spring with the Husker baseball team.

    No. 13 Linebacker Will Compton

    A broken foot suffered just before the 2010 season-opener kept this junior-to-be from contributing until midseason. Even then, it took time for Compton to get up to speed behind LaVonte David. His 6-foot-2, 230-pound frame will come in handy against Big Ten offensive lines, but Compton has to become more proactive in getting to the ball.

    He's likely to be a middle linebacker in 2011, which means his top job will be to stuff the run in the box and make zone drops when necessary. Compton has pretty good speed and he stays low. What remains to be seen is if he can handle a starting job for a full season. Husker coaches are confident he can.

    See all 50 Huskers!

    No. 50, No. 49, No. 48, No. 47, No. 46, No. 45, No. 44, No. 43, No. 42, No. 41, No. 40, No. 39, No. 38, No. 37, No. 36, No. 35, No. 34, No. 33, No. 32, No. 31, No. 30, No. 29, No. 28, No. 27, No. 26, No. 25, No. 24, No. 23, No. 22, No. 21, No. 20, No. 19, No. 18, No. 17, No. 16, No. 15, No. 14

    Tags: 50 huskers to know spring 2011, will compton

  14. 2011 Mar 23

    50 HUSKERS TO KNOW: No. 14

    3,443 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    The 50 Huskers to Know returns for the 2011 spring season! We count down the players you absolutely have to watch heading into spring football, culminating with No. 1 during NU's spring break.

    The spring list, remember, is about players who are currently in the program, with an emphasis on redshirt freshmen and sophomores who might not have played much yet; in the fall, you'll see a list with more projected starters and incoming contributing recruits.

    Not included on this list is wide receiver Khiry Cooper, who spends the spring with the Husker baseball team.

    No. 14 Cornerback Ciante Evans

    He arrived in Lincoln only last summer and wasn't necessarily expected to contribute right away. But Evans picked up the defense, showed pluck and toughness and listened to his secondary coach, Marvin Sanders. When Alfonzo Dennard got hurt midway through the Missouri game, it was up to Evans to fill in. And he did, with a clutch third-down tackle of Mizzou quarterback Blaine Gabbert during a goal line stand.

    Evans had his struggles in 2010 – note the Iowa State game – but he's an aggressive cover corner who, at 5-11, 185 pounds, nevertheless matches up with most wide receivers. Good kid, too. He retains information well and stays humble.

    See all 50 Huskers!

    No. 50, No. 49, No. 48, No. 47, No. 46, No. 45, No. 44, No. 43, No. 42, No. 41, No. 40, No. 39, No. 38, No. 37, No. 36, No. 35, No. 34, No. 33, No. 32, No. 31, No. 30, No. 29, No. 28, No. 27, No. 26, No. 25, No. 24, No. 23, No. 22, No. 21, No. 20, No. 19, No. 18, No. 17, No. 16, No. 15

    Tags: 50 huskers to know spring 2011, ciante evans

  15. 2011 Mar 23

    50 HUSKERS TO KNOW: No. 15

    3,264 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    The 50 Huskers to Know returns for the 2011 spring season! We count down the players you absolutely have to watch heading into spring football, culminating with No. 1 during NU's spring break.

    The spring list, remember, is about players who are currently in the program, with an emphasis on redshirt freshmen and sophomores who might not have played much yet; in the fall, you'll see a list with more projected starters and incoming contributing recruits.

    Not included on this list is wide receiver Khiry Cooper, who spends the spring with the Husker baseball team.

    No. 15 Safety Austin Cassidy

    This son of former NU director of football operations Tim Cassidy, this walk-on earned a scholarship right before the 2010 season and earned a starting safety job halfway through the same year. His interception return for a touchdown in the Iowa State game gave the Huskers a third-quarter lead. Toward the end of last year, he struggled just a little in losses to Oklahoma and Washington, but Cassidy is a sure tackler, knows where to be on a given play keeps most plays in front of him.

    He's in the midst of a pretty stiff position battle with a variety of players, but we think he'll get the nod this spring and probably in the fall. He can be a factor on special teams, too. One of the team's better students, Cassidy will be a leader for this team in 2011.

    See all 50 Huskers!

    No. 50, No. 49, No. 48, No. 47, No. 46, No. 45, No. 44, No. 43, No. 42, No. 41, No. 40, No. 39, No. 38, No. 37, No. 36, No. 35, No. 34, No. 33, No. 32, No. 31, No. 30, No. 29, No. 28, No. 27, No. 26, No. 25, No. 24, No. 23, No. 22, No. 21, No. 20, No. 19, No. 18, No. 17, No. 16, No. 15

    Tags: 50 huskers to know spring 2011, austin cassidy

  16. 2011 Mar 22

    50 HUSKERS TO KNOW: No. 16

    3,952 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    The 50 Huskers to Know returns for the 2011 spring season! We count down the players you absolutely have to watch heading into spring football, culminating with No. 1 during NU's spring break.

    The spring list, remember, is about players who are currently in the program, with an emphasis on redshirt freshmen and sophomores who might not have played much yet; in the fall, you'll see a list with more projected starters and incoming contributing recruits.

    Not included on this list is wide receiver Khiry Cooper, who spends the spring with the Husker baseball team.

    No. 16 Right tackle Marcel Jones

    If you had to build a guy who screamed “prototypical offensive tackle,” he'd probably look a lot like Jones. The 6-foot-7, 320-pound frame. The footwork and natural coordination that made him a great high school basketball player. The intelligence that comes through in his interviews.

    Just one problem: Jones has nursed one frustrating injury after another in his college career and he comes into his senior campaign having never quite fulfilled his considerable potential. That could all change in 2011, of course. For the betterment of NU's offense, it probably has to happen. The Huskers are admittedly thin at tackle, and Jones is the kind of guy who, if healthy, can start a whole season without needing much of a backup. He's a pretty good run blocker, and he definitely possesses the speed to keep good defensive tackles away from the quarterback. His personality isn't exactly nasty – but, at his size, it doesn't necessarily have to be.

    The question is: How is his back? Can he practice enough to be fully prepared on game day? Will he be in and out of the starting lineup, forcing NU to develop a completely unproven option or slide Yoshi Hardrick from left tackle?

    See all 50 Huskers!

    No. 50, No. 49, No. 48, No. 47, No. 46, No. 45, No. 44, No. 43, No. 42, No. 41, No. 40, No. 39, No. 38, No. 37, No. 36, No. 35, No. 34, No. 33, No. 32, No. 31, No. 30, No. 29, No. 28, No. 27, No. 26, No. 25, No. 24, No. 23, No. 22, No. 21, No. 20, No. 19, No. 18, No. 17, No. 16

    Tags: 50 huskers to know spring 2011, marcel jones

  17. 2011 Mar 22

    50 HUSKERS TO KNOW: No. 17

    4,275 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    The 50 Huskers to Know returns for the 2011 spring season! We count down the players you absolutely have to watch heading into spring football, culminating with No. 1 during NU's spring break.

    The spring list, remember, is about players who are currently in the program, with an emphasis on redshirt freshmen and sophomores who might not have played much yet; in the fall, you'll see a list with more projected starters and incoming contributing recruits.

    Not included on this list is wide receiver Khiry Cooper, who spends the spring with the Husker baseball team.

    No. 17 Left guard Andrew Rodriguez

    Burned his redshirt in 2010 – for what? For this: Taking over for three-year starter Keith Williams in 2011. Although Rodriguez didn't get as much playing time as we thought he deserved, he's considered by many close to the program to be as complete a prospect as Barney Cotton's had. Big. Strong. A comportment and mean streak similar to Carl Nicks, now a Pro Bowler with the New Orleans Saints.

    At 6-6, 325 pounds, Rodriguez is a massive guard. And he plays to his weight. He has good lean and aggression. In spot play last year, he showed good footwork. If NU can't find a consistent right guard, he could play that role, too. Cotton has high hopes for Rodriguez, an All-Big Ten-type talent who just needs experience.

    No. 50, No. 49, No. 48, No. 47, No. 46, No. 45, No. 44, No. 43, No. 42, No. 41, No. 40, No. 39, No. 38, No. 37, No. 36, No. 35, No. 34, No. 33, No. 32, No. 31, No. 30, No. 29, No. 28, No. 27, No. 26, No. 25, No. 24, No. 23, No. 22, No. 21, No. 20, No. 19, No. 18

    Tags: 50 huskers to know spring 2011, andrew rodriguez

  18. 2011 Mar 21

    50 HUSKERS TO KNOW: No. 18

    4,085 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    The 50 Huskers to Know returns for the 2011 spring season! We count down the players you absolutely have to watch heading into spring football, culminating with No. 1 during NU's spring break.

    The spring list, remember, is about players who are currently in the program, with an emphasis on redshirt freshmen and sophomores who might not have played much yet; in the fall, you'll see a list with more projected starters and incoming contributing recruits.

    Not included on this list is wide receiver Khiry Cooper, who spends the spring with the Husker baseball team.

    No. 18 Tight end Ben Cotton

    Now a junior, this 6-foot-6, 250-pounder always brings two things to every practice and game: Energy and toughness. A natural vocal leader who knows how to motivate and cut the tension when necessary, Cotton is NU's best blocking tight end since at least J.B. Phillips, and perhaps heading back to Aaron Golliday. He can blast guys on kick-out blocks – as he did in the 2010 Missouri game – or prevent a defensive end/linebacker from turning the corner. He'll play a pivotal blocking role in NU's new offense.

    As a receiver, Cotton is better than his meager numbers might suggest. He's a good short-yardage target with above-average running ability for a guy of his size. He's not Kyler Reed, but he may get a bigger role in Tim Beck's new attack. Either way, he's a keeper and a leader in the locker room.

    No. 50, No. 49, No. 48, No. 47, No. 46, No. 45, No. 44, No. 43, No. 42, No. 41, No. 40, No. 39, No. 38, No. 37, No. 36, No. 35, No. 34, No. 33, No. 32, No. 31, No. 30, No. 29, No. 28, No. 27, No. 26, No. 25, No. 24, No. 23, No. 22, No. 21, No. 20, No. 19

    Tags: 50 huskers to know spring 2011, ben cotton

  19. 2011 Mar 21

    50 HUSKERS TO KNOW: No. 19

    4,524 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    The 50 Huskers to Know returns for the 2011 spring season! We count down the players you absolutely have to watch heading into spring football, culminating with No. 1 during NU's spring break.

    The spring list, remember, is about players who are currently in the program, with an emphasis on redshirt freshmen and sophomores who might not have played much yet; in the fall, you'll see a list with more projected starters and incoming contributing recruits.

    Not included on this list is wide receiver Khiry Cooper, who spends the spring with the Husker baseball team.

    No. 19 Offensive tackle Yoshi Hardrick

    The big Yosh seems to have redistributed some of that weight for the 2011 season, which should put him in a good spot to compete for the starting left or right tackle spots. We'd still like to see him at right tackle, where Marcel Jones battled more injury problems that held him out nearly the entire 2010 season. Hardrick, a superlative, aggressive run blocker, could use that 6-foot-7, 320-pound frame to good use on that side of the line. As a pass blocker, he still needs considerable polish, but Hardrick is a willing student, and once he gets his hands locked in – it's hard to get away from him.

    We project Hardrick will start somewhere during his senior campaign. A simpler NU offense may benefit him more than most.

    No. 50, No. 49, No. 48, No. 47, No. 46, No. 45, No. 44, No. 43, No. 42, No. 41, No. 40, No. 39, No. 38, No. 37, No. 36, No. 35, No. 34, No. 33, No. 32, No. 31, No. 30, No. 29, No. 28, No. 27, No. 26, No. 25, No. 24, No. 23, No. 22, No. 21, No. 20

    Tags: 50 huskers to know spring 2011, yoshi hardrick

  20. 2011 Mar 18

    50 HUSKERS TO KNOW: No. 20

    3,605 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    The 50 Huskers to Know returns for the 2011 spring season! We count down the players you absolutely have to watch heading into spring football, culminating with No. 1 during NU's spring break.

    The spring list, remember, is about players who are currently in the program, with an emphasis on redshirt freshmen and sophomores who might not have played much yet; in the fall, you'll see a list with more projected starters and incoming contributing recruits.

    Not included on this list is wide receiver Khiry Cooper, who spends the spring with the Husker baseball team.

    No. 20 Safety P.J. Smith

    Replaced as a starter midway through the 2010 season by the harder-hitting, more instinctive Courtney Osborne, Smith, a junior, is on a mission to win his job back. It won't be easy. Osborne has more aggression and upside. He's better in run support than Smith; that could come in pretty handy in the Big Ten.

    Smith is more of a classic, rangy safety who knows how to put himself in the right position on passing plays. He understands the Huskers' defense and has a natural, fluid progression to the ball. It's hard to get behind him. Are there times when his sense of urgency could improve? Yes. Smith also needs to become a better tackler. He's still a pro prospect. He just happens to play in a secondary full of guys like who are, too.

    See all 50 Huskers! No. 50, No. 49, No. 48, No. 47, No. 46, No. 45, No. 44, No. 43, No. 42, No. 41, No. 40, No. 39, No. 38, No. 37, No. 36, No. 35, No. 34, No. 33, No. 32, No. 31, No. 30, No. 29, No. 28, No. 27, No. 26, No. 25, No. 24, No. 23, No. 22, No. 21

    Tags: 50 huskers to know spring 2011, pj smith

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