POSITION DEPTH & RECRUITING NEEDS FOR 2012: DEFENSE

The 2012 Husker recruiting class will likely not finish in anyone's top 15, but that's only because it is going to be an unusually small one. Look for quality to be the order of the day as numbers will not require a 25 man class in order to provide depth.

Starting with the defense, let's take a look at Nebraska's current roster position by position. Looking at scholarship players and significant contributors, let's  see how that breaks down to needs for next year's class. Keep in mind that true incoming freshmen could still redshirt and become part of the following year's class numbers-wise.

 

R - redshirt freshman
2011 - true freshman
* - projected starter
+ - possible  significant playing time/possible starter

DEFENSIVE TACKLE:

Freshmen
Jay Guy (R)
Todd Peat (2011)
Chase Rome (R) +
Kevin Williams (2011)

Sophomore
Thaddeus Randle

Junior
Baker Steinkuhler *

Seniors
Jared Crick *
Terence Moore +

A fairly balanced position that has deepened significantly with the last two classes. Look for freshman Chase Rome to earn significant playing time this year with Peat & Willaims redshirting. Probably looking at signing 1 and no more than 2 this year. Vincent Valentine is a top target right now but 5-star Californian Aziz Shittu is now showing interest.

DEFENSIVE END

Freshmen
Walker Ashburn (R)
Toby Okuyemi (R)
Donovan Vestal (R)

Sophomore
Jason Ankrah +

Juniors
Joseph Carter (2010)
Eric Martin *
Cameron Meredith *
Josh Williams

Seniors
None

Eric Martin certainly looks to have found a home & I would be surprised if he didn't start across from Meredith. Look for Ankrah to earn a spot in the rotation. With 3 juniors and 3 freshmen, this is another position that they may only be looking to sign one or maybe two for a little balance. Greg McMullen has given a verbal and that may be it, although they are still looking at several other possibilities.  If a 2nd is taken, another 5-star, Jonathon Bullard of NC, tops the bucket list.

LINEBACKER

Freshmen
Max Pirman (2011)
David Santos (2011)

Sophomores
None

Juniors
Will Compton *
Sean Fisher *
Micah Kreikemeier
Alonzo Whaley

Seniors
Lavonte David *
Matthew May

The Peso could be giving way to a traditional 4-3 set in the slightly more ground-oriented Big 10. See some holes here? Michael Rose is committed after opening things back up for a bit, but, in my opinion, they need at least two LB's in the 2012 class. Hopefully one of the true frosh (Santos most likely) can get some playing time this year and/or next because when Compton's class leaves, this position will become very, very young. Given Compton and Fisher's injury history, some playing time will be available.

CORNERBACK
(Note: Many of the cornerbacks/safeties are listed as defensive back as coaches often place them based on need. If not specified on the roster, they are placed based on position for which originally recruited)

Freshmen
Daniel Davie (2011 athlete)
Charles Jackson (2011)
Josh Mitchell (RS)

Sophomores
Ciante Evans *
Lazarri Middleton
Dijon Washington

Juniors
Antonio Bell

Seniors
Anthony Blue
Alfonzo Dennard *
Marcus Mendoza

Dennard is the lock to start and Evans is the early favorite to take the other spot based on his playing time last year as true frosh. This position that has stayed stocked fairly consistently and been recruited especially well the last two years. Will probably be looking to add one with Brandon Beaver of Compton topping the want list.

SAFETIES

Freshmen
Corey Cooper (R)
Harvey Jackson (R)
Bronson Marsh (R -athlete)

Sophomores
Andrew Green

Juniors
Courtney Osborne *
P.J. Smith  +
Daimion Stafford +

Seniors
Austin Cassidy *
Lance Thorell +

Another spot that is in great shape talent and numbers wise. I'm tabbing Cassidy and Osborne as the starters based on coach's comments in Cassidy's case and the way the 2010 season played out in Osborne's. However, PJ Smith could take a starting spot back at any time, and the coaches probably didn't sign a talent like Stafford, who has three years to play two, if they didn't feel he ready to contribute immediately. They could possibly add two more as none were signed last year. Reggie Daniels (CA), Jordan Diggs (AZ) and Jermaine Edmondson (OH) all rank NU highly on their lists.

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