Most Nebraska fans know the names like Jeff Sims, Luke Reimer, Nick Henrich, Gabe Ervin Jr., Thomas Fidone and Ty Robinson. Those are as close to household names as there are on this Husker roster. I am probably missing a couple.
However, below are five Huskers that are far from household names (as of today) that might be end up being known by the fanbase at large by the time the 2023 season is over.
Some have come out of nowhere. Some have exceeded already high expectations. Others have taken the opportunity for a fresh start with a new coaching staff.
So here are five Husker football players I think may be impact players this season.
Bullock is a walk-on from Creighton Prep out of Omaha who is considered one of the top three linebackers on the team at the moment. As of right now he might be penciled in as a starter in the 3-3-5 system. He’ll be running with the likes of Luke Reimer and Nick Henrich.
The best part? They moved him to linebacker two weeks after the new coaching staff got to watch him.
So not only was he likely playing out of position (adding 15 pounds of muscle helps) it helps that a new coaching staff comes in with a fresh set of eyes.
If he stays healthy he probably is in line for a scholarship, sooner or later, if he already doesn’t have one by the time you read this.
Matt Rhule said there were two open scholarships available and Phalen Sanford took one of them. Bullock might get the last one, deservedly so.
He played in 10 games last season and all of his snaps were on special teams. His one tackle was against Purdue on kickoff. It is safe to say he will likely have a bunch of tackles for the Blackshirts.
An honorable mention who could have made the list? John Bullock’s brother Alex who Thomas Fidone has said is the best route runner he has ever seen.
While he may not be listed with the ones when the first depth chart is released by Matt Rhule, I expect that they will not be able to keep Eric Fields off of the field for long.
He feels like the “inevitability” that nobody can stop. Check out his high school tape and you will see what I mean.
The last two seasons of high school he had 270 tackles. How Oklahoma or Oklahoma State didn’t offer him is absolutely beyond me.
Field is fast and explodes through contact on the field. When asked, Defensive Coordinator Tony White said he couldn’t remember if he had practiced with the ones but he was sure he was practicing with the 2s and 3s.
He may not be straight up linebacker as he has been practicing as a rover. We will likely see him on special teams to start and who knows where he will end up by the end of 2023. It will not be long before all of Nebraska knows who he is.
This would be the case of the player who had high expectations coming into the season. He was a four star recruit out of IMG Academy in Florida who was also an Army All-American. The last coaching staff recruited him for three years and the current staff probably took one look at Lenhardt’s tape and said “thank you.”
Lenhardt also joined his teammate Princewill Umanmielen on 247Sports.com’s Freshman All-American Team. The reason why Lenhart makes this list of five huskers and not Umanmielen is because it sounds like Princewill is hurt, though it isn’t long-term it sounds.
Also another reason why Lenhardt is on this list is because according to Matt Rhule he, Lenhardt might actually start against Minnesota. It’s between him and Blaise Gunnerson.
Gunnerson is a fourth year sophomore so that really tells you how good Lenhardt could end up being.
Welcome to who could be the starting Center for Nebraska in 2023.
I think most thought it would have been Ben Scott, the Arizona State transfer, but it appears that Evans-Jenkins could be the starter going forward at center.
His position coach, Donovan Raiola, said that they are continuing to move guys around at positions but as of now Evans-Jenkins is “the main guy, right now, at center.”
This is one of those things. You hope Evans-Jenkins is simply good enough to take one most important positions on the offensive line as a redshirt freshman. Hopefully, it isn’t a reflection of the other options at Raiola’s disposal.
If he ends up being the guy there then wouldn’t that be great to have a mainstay at that position for the next three plus years? Hopefully he doesn’t have any issues with the snap.
If you enjoy watching the videos pushed out by the Husker social media team then you likely have seen one of the smallest players who happens to wear #41.
The true freshman from Rosewell, Georgia is 5’11” and 160 pounds. Nash Hutmacher on the other hand is 330 pounds. Taking a peruse of the roster it surely appears that Nation is the smallest player on the team.
The reports coming out of camp sound like the kid is also a playmaker at the defensive back position.
It might be a little bit before we see him with the defensive unit (though it sounds like that is also inevitable) he is likely one of the top returners for both kick offs and punts for the special teams unit.
After one of the scrimmages, starting quarterback Jeff Sims was asked who stood out on the defensive side of the ball and he only named one player.
With a personality like his it might not be long before Ethan Nation wins the hearts and minds of Husker fans everywhere.
Honorable Mention List
Keeping a list to just five is difficult and I definitely could see why people will have disagreements with the five I chose. So here is another list we can all argue about! The honorable mentions: