Big Ten Special Team Player of the Week, Freshman of the Week, and College Football Performance Award for National Kickoff Returner of the Week - those are just some honors a 5-9 150 pound freshman Ameer Abdullah earned this year.
Only being a freshman, 5-9, and only 150lbs RB Ameer Abdullah was an excellent asset to Tim Beck and Nebraska’s new "Oregon like" spread offense. Abdullah accumulated for 150 yards on 42 attempts with three touchdowns. Abdullah didn’t get his name mentioned everywhere around Nebraska for his rushing abilities, but for his returning abilities. On 26 returns, 763 yards Abdullah became somebody almost every opponent didn’t want to even come close to kicking to. So what could be expected of Abdullah his sophomore season? Well speed and kickoff returns are his two main weapons on the field.
Even though having a threat on kickoff returns it may not be the best thing, when you stop and think of it if it’s not an opening kickoff or after halftime that usually meant the other team had scored. So the less returns the better. Abdullah would be better suited to come in and replace of Rex Burkhead when he is tired. Abdullah could be a major threat in "end around" plays. Throwing Abdullah for a sweep to the right or left was almost an automatic for eight to nine yards. Come next fall when Nebraska opens their season against Southern Miss imagine if those eight to nine yard runs turned into something more? What if Abdullah catches a key block and gets into open space? With speed like his, Abdullah could be gone in an instant. Abdullah was only a freshman this year so he will have some time to put some "meat on his bones". Being somebody for opposing defenses to watch could open up huge holes
Even if it means that returning a kick off could be after a team scores, speed will also give Abdullah the chance to have a few more electrifying plays on kick returns. Abdullah’s longest return for touchdown was for 100 yards against Fresno State and sparked Nebraska's big 4th quarter. Being able to have somebody that can get the ball into good field position is exactly what Nebraska needs. Abdullah averages just over 29 yards for every return. Even with that said, if there were anybody that I want to see waiting on the goal line waiting for a kickoff it would have to be Ameer Abdullah. He is the one player that can give the team and our fans hope after an opponent has scored that Abdullah could run it back for the Huskers or put them in amazing field position. The field position battle has been a problem the four years under Bo Pelini.
A lot may be expected from Abdullah next year. If it is backing up Rex when he needs a break, returning kickoffs, returning punts or even giving all of Memorial Stadium a confidence boost. Could this be the next Johnny Rodgers? Well, lets not get too ahead of ourselves. Almost all of "Husker Nation" said Taylor could be the next Eric Crouch and we all know how that turned out. But I will leave at this… when Nebraska just gave up a huge run or pass just remember the guy with dreadlocks waiting to return the ball could be a momentum changer and give Nebraska that extra push it needs to win the game.
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