Nebraska picked up their 17th commit of the 2011 signing class as running back Ameer Abdullah committed to the Huskers. Abdullah is from Homewood, Alabama, and pledged to the Huskers after visiting Lincoln this past week. He had considered USC as another top school, but choose Nebraska because of USC's probation issues and because, well, we're Nebraska:
I loved their weight room, their tradition and the fact Nebraska is the team in that state. There's no Auburn and Alabama dividing it up. There's no pro team. Everyone in that state pulls for Nebraska."
Abdullah is the second running back committed to Nebraska in this class, the other being the highly-touted Aaron Green. Given the departure of Dontrayevous Robinson to Montana State and the non-qualified status of 2010 recruit Braylon Heard, Abdullah adds some much needed depth to the class.
If you're wondering what I mean, consider that as of right now, Rex Burkhead is the only scholarship running back on Nebraska's roster that's seen meaningful playing time. The other running backs currently on the roster are Austin Jones, Collins Okafor, Lester Ward and Zach Taylor.
While Burkhead might be capable of carrying the ball 20-25 times a game, it's clear that he does not posses the pure break-away speed needed to be an every down threat to score. Burkhead provides Nebraska with a back who will consistently gain positive yardage along with the ability to successfully execute the wildcat formation that appears to have become part of the offense.
Green and Abdullah provide speed, but neither has great size. Green is 5'11", 180 pounds, while Abdullah is listed at 5'8" and 170 pounds. With the departure of Robinson, the one thing Nebraska appears to be missing is a bruiser - someone who's going to line up in a heavy formation and pound the ball straight ahead, picking up first downs on those third-and-two plays.
Nebraska has no intention of moving away from the Oregon-influenced offense featuring Taylor Martinez and plenty of zone read plays. Evidence of that is included in the article about Addullah's recruitment:
Pelini shared a vision of the new direction his offense will take. There will be more spread and spread option to take advantage of rising sophomore passer Taylor Martinez. It's a step from Nebraska power football toward some of Oregon's offense.
Husker fans have to hope that either Green or Abdullah are ready to play when they come to Lincoln, rather than taking a redshirt season - the backfield needs the next Roy Helu.