Nebraska Football: Previewing The 2014 Running Back Positions

This pic never gets old - Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

We continue our Spring ball preview by taking a look at the Running Back positions.

Yesterday, we took a look at the Quarterback position. Today, lets focus on the ball carriers and lead blockers coming out of the back field.

Departing:

King Frazier - Transfer to North Dakota State

C.J. Zimmerer - graduation

Returning:

Ameer Abdullah - Sr. 13 games started, 281 carries, 1690 yards, 9 touchdowns

Imani Cross - Jr. 85 carries, 447 yards, 10 touchdowns

Terrell Newby - Soph. 54 carries, 298 yards, 2 touchdowns

Adam Taylor - Redshirt Frosh. Redshirted last season

Murat Kuzu - Jr. Has never played in a game.

Graham Nabity - Redshirt Soph.

Jordan Nelson - Soph. Has never appeared in a game.

Andy Janovich - Soph. Appeared in 12 games last year, no carries.

Harrison Jordan - Redshirt Frosh. Redshirted last year.

Mitch McCann - Redshirt Soph. Has not appeared in a game.

Last season:

The 2013 season was the Ameer Abdullah show. The Junior from Homewood, Alabama finally had the #1 part of the depth chart to himself after the graduation of Rex Burkhead, and boy did he show that he deserved it.

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Starting every game for the Huskers, he put up one of the most prolific seasons in Husker history. Leading the B1G in rushing yards and 9th overall in FBS with 1690 yards, he also led the B1G in yards from scrimmage with 1922 total. The year-end accolades of being first-team All B1G by both the coaches and the media, third-team All American, and a Doak Walker Semifinalist. Oh yea, don't forget being an Academic All Big Ten member too.

While Ameer was the man who toted the ball all over the field, Imani Cross was the man on the goal line, leading the team with 10 rushing TD's.

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Terrell Newby found a few touches here and there, starting off the year with a season-high 76 yards vs. Wyoming. Newby also had appearances on both kickoff and punt returns through the season.

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Spring Outlook:

With the addition of redshirt candidate Adam Taylor into the fray, there's a lot of folks who will be looking for a touch through a game. We know Ameer will be there, and Imani is the man on the goal line. Past that, trying to figure out where Taylor and Newby gets their touches will be interesting to see. Taylor will be there in case of injury to either one of the first two guys on the depth chart, so the one to watch will be Newby here. Tim Beck seemed to found a spot for Newby as Jamal Turner was injured in the second part of the year, using him for things like jet sweeps and option plays out of the slot. However, with the return of Turner to the starting lineup (and as long as he stays healthy), it's easy to wonder where touches will come on offense for Newby. He could be a player on Special Teams still, but with others there too, it's another situation where there may be more bodies than touches available.

At fullback, Andy Janovich will be the starter heading into the season as C.J. Zimmerer has graduated. Janovich is the only Fullback on scholarship, so he should be the man leading this group through the spring and fall camp periods.

Prediction of depth chart post-Spring ball:

Running Back:

1. Abdullah
2. Cross
3. Taylor AND Newby
4. Nabity
5. Nelson
6. Kuzu

Fullback:

1. Janovich
2. McCann
3. Jordan

August incoming players:

Mikale Wilbon: Signed, enrolling in August
Larenzo Stewart: Signed, enrolling in August

2013 Rushing Statistics

Rushing Attempts Gain Loss Net Average TD Long Avg/Game
Ameer Abdullah 281 1722 32 1690 6 9 62 130
Imani Cross 85 458 11 447 5.3 10 51 34.4
Terrell Newby 54 302 4 298 5.5 2 23 22.9
Tommy Armstrong Jr 67 277 75 202 3 2 24 22.4
Taylor Martinez 40 195 78 117 2.9 0 35 29.2
King Frazier 12 53 9 44 3.7 1 11 3.7
Graham Nabity 5 24 0 24 4.8 0 6 12
Jordan Westerkamp 2 10 0 10 5 0 7 0.8
Ryker Fyfe 1 3 0 3 3 0 3 3
Jamal Turner 1 2 0 2 2 0 2 0.2
Brodrick Nickens 1 2 0 2 2 0 2 0.3
Kenny Bell 1 1 0 1 1 0 1 0.1
Quincy Enunwa 3 5 6 -1 -0.3 4 -0.1
Sam Foltz 1 0 8 -8 -8 0 0 -0.6
Ron Kellogg III 23 60 71 -11 -0.05 0 12 -1.1

Players in bold are gone. Note that nearly all of the production from last season returns.

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