Part two of our depth and recruiting review focuses on the offense. On the defensive side of the ball, only the linebacker position was somewhat out of whack in their numbers, but the offense is another story. The quarterback position has no one rostered who is older than a sophomore. Running back might be manned by one junior and some true freshmen. The biggest threats to make some highlight reels at WR are also both frosh.
And the offensive line? Four starters are gone leaving 3 seniors and 1 junior. Lower classmen? There's 11 of them. The top 6 all have experience, but after that, it's nothing but potential. Which probably describes the 2011 offense. It's young, it's fast, it's talented and as a group, it's very, very short on experience. Which may be why Taylor Martinez has been able to assert himself as a leader according to Tim Beck.
If Martinez and Burkhead can take charge, big things are possible. No offense to the Washington Huskies, but the first real test of their maturity comes at Camp Randall on a night in early October.
R - redshirt freshman
2011 - true freshman
* - projected starter
+ - possible significant playing time/possible starter
R - redshirt freshman
Taylor Martinez *
A few months ago, this position was LOADED, right? Then Green was outplayed by Carnes and transferred, Starling's BB stock shot through the roof, Spano's knees finally did him in and Turner was moved to WR where Beck says he will stay. Suddenly, instead of maybe taking a QB for 2012, a minimum of one has become crucial. Tommy Armstrong (TX) has the Huskers high on his list, but don't count NU out for dual threat NJ QB Devin Fuller who ran for 2306 yards and 32 TD's in 2010. As for now, it sounds as if Martinez has cemented his hold on the starting job and Carnes is QB2.
Mike Marrow +
CJ Zimmerer (FB)
Tyler Legate (FB)
Burkhead takes over as the workhorse and Alabama transfer Marrow will take over the Dontray Robinson short yardage role - but will it be the 2009 version that saw him contributing regularly or the 2010 version that saw him virtually disappear? Indications are that NU will emphasize the run out of Tim Beck's spread which means at least one of the 3 true freshmen will get some carries. Including Marrow, NU has added 4 RB's for 2011. Unless a can't say no prospect shows interest or two or more them get caught running a meth lab/whorehouse, the Huskers probably stand pat at this position.
This is essentially a two deep position and they're both juniors, so there probably need to be two added to begin building some depth. Sam Cotton is already a commit and Orlando David (CA) and Jonathon Curry (AL) look to be top targets as well. Reed and Cotton will play as situations dictate. Reed is the big play option and Cotton will help pound it out as the Huskers run.
Brandon Kinnie *
The Huskers have not had a high profile gamebreaking recruit at WR since Niles Paul. However, through a broken leg that scared off recruiters (Bell) and a position change (Turner), NU may have stumbled onto a pair that could fill that role. And don't forget Enunwa, a 200 and high jump champ in high school, who found his way onto the field as a true freshman. Nebraska probably needs two here and already have a commitment from Jordan Westerkamp. Don't surprised if they get a switch from ASU commit, Kenny Lawler, who camped at Nebraska this summer and is reportedly very interested in the Huskers.
Much of Bo Pelini's first two full recruiting seasons were spent trying to restock two depleted classes. Consider the mission accomplished, especially following last year's haul which has the potential to be the best ever recruited in one year. That kind of quantity won't be required again so quality is the focus for 2012 as they look to add 3 or 4 at the most. Paul Thurston's commitment was huge and of the remaining targets, 5-star tackle Andrus Peat, younger brother of DT Todd Peat, is the guy they want the most.