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Nebraska Huskers Spring Football 2013: Recapping The Defensive Line

Following some horrific showings in 2012, does Nebraska have the athletes to prevent another laughable run defense?


(Only Scholarship Players Listed)


No. 9 Jason Ankrah (Sr.) 6-4, 265 26 tackles (16 solo), six TFL, two sacks, one pass breakup, two forced fumbles
No. 47 Walker Ashburn (Jr.) 6-3, 260 Two tackles (one solo), 0.5 TFL, 0.5 sacks
No. 91 Donovan Vestal (Jr.) 6-5, 275 N/A
Randy Gregory (So.) 6-6, 230 N/A
No. 90 Greg McMullen (RFr.) 6-3, 285 N/A
No. 94 Avery Moss (RFr.) 6-2, 270 four tackles
AJ Natter 6-5, 240 N/A
Dimarya Mixon 6-4, 250 N/A
Earnest Suttles 6-5, 240 N/A


No. 53 Thad Randle (Sr.) 6-1, 290 21 tackles (10 solo), one TFL, one fumble recovery
No. 99 Jay Guy (Jr.) 6-1, 290 N/A
No. 48 Tobi Okuyemi (Jr.) 6-2, 280 N/A
No. 92 Kevin Williams (So.) 6-2, 275 four tackles (one solo), 0.5 TFL,
No. 96 Aaron Curry (So.) 6-1, 280 three tackles
No. 98 Vincent Valentine (RFr.) 6-3, 325 N/A
Maliek Collins (Fr.) 6-2, 285 N/A
Kevin Maurice (Fr.) 6-3, 270 N/A

1. End(s) Of The Line: The chart above tells the story: Plenty of bodies, not enough meaningful minutes.

Ankrah already has a spot locked down thanks to experience, but who mans the other one?

It's easy to see why Greg McMullen redshirted. He took a year to study Bo Pelini's system which several players admit isn't as simple as scrambling an egg. Could you get this down pat in a year while going to class?

He has the size and intensity to start in August, and if you're headed to the Red-White Game, you're doing yourself a disservice by not watching him.

Avery Moss has the opportunity to see a fair amount of snaps and even start if McMullen's struggling with Pelini's concepts.

Ashburn and Vestal haven't ever stood out and considering the lack of mention out of spring camp, there's likely no reason to expect a change in the near future.

Expect to see any newbies during the amazingly powder puff early non-conference slate, otherwise they likely remain sideline-bound.

2. The Clog Nebraska Prays For - Seeing the names and numbers in black and white up top really draws a sharpie under just how potentially hideous things could turn for the Huskers this fall.

As mentioned before, Thad will be golden barring the worst, but another upperclassman has to step up as they've had plenty of time to absorb the basic concepts of Pelini's system.

Between Okuyemi and Guy, my money's on the former. He's slimmer, faster and has the edge due to simple physics.

Kevin Williams is another possibility as he's had his hand in the dirt when live ammo's been flying.

3. Will He Be The Huskers' Valentine? - Vincent Valentine deserves a section to himself, if not based on size alone. Big Vince has the potential to make a major impact in 2013, but as with every player who walks into North Stadium, their potential is what they make of it.

He's the closest thing Pelini's had to Glenn Dorsey and Ndamukong Suh in terms of size since...well, Dorsey or Suh. The talent's there, now all Pelini has to do is make sure the work ethic is.

However, when players at a thin position need to take every opportunity to improve their game, this isn't encouraging:

4. Walk-ons - My favorite out of this list is senior Brodrick Nickens (6-5, 310), but he may see time on the other side of the line. Aside from him, well...hope for some growth spurts.

5. Bottom Line - While there can be legitimate faith John Garrison will put together an effective starting five, it's hard to say the same for Pelini and Kaczenski regarding the four on the opposite side of the trenches.

Creativity's going to have to be part of the plan. If the defensive line doesn't get a hand from linebackers or even safeties, not even divine intervention can prevent opponents from gashing on the ground in 2013.