Opportunity Knocks

With the lack of depth at running back for Nebraska, one of the most important recruits for the 2011 class was Ameer Abdullah, the all-purpose back from Alabama. And after getting a look at the competition in Lincoln this weekend, the Homewood standout thinks he can help the Huskers as a true freshman. We go one-on-one with the Nebraska signee in this latest update with Big Red Report.

This wasn't the first trip to Lincoln for Ameer Abdullah, but it was his first experience seeing the Sea of Red.

"I haven't been able to see a game yet up there. When I took my official visit to Nebraska their season was already over, so this was the first time I saw a packed house. It was almost like a real game."

What were your initial thoughts as you walked in the stadium?

"I was like wow! My dad came with me this time too and this was his first time seeing the place. So we both were kind of shocked how packed it was for a spring game. I mean, they had like 70,000 people there just to see a practice, I was impressed, and so was my dad."

Ameer then talked about how he and his father spent the weekend in Lincoln.

"We got up there pretty early on Friday. I got to hangout with some of the other incoming recruits first. Then we went to some of the meetings with the coaches, after that we all went and ate this big dinner together.

"We got up early on Saturday and met with all the academic people. Before the game we got to go out on the field and watch the team do warm-ups, like see how they prepare before games. The best part was just talking to some of the players already on the team. I liked getting to know my future teammates."

Did your dad like what he saw in Lincoln?

"He was really taken back by everything. He finally got to see what I've been telling him about. He was amazed by everything like the locker room, weight room, all of it. We made it home about 3 hours ago and he is still telling everybody about the trip. He can't quit talking about it", laughed Abdullah. "He's still talking to my mom about it now."

Did you spend any time with the coaches?

"Oh yeah, I spent most of the day with them. Me and coach Beck talked a lot, and I spoke to coach Bo a few times too. I also got to know coach Carl a little bit and I really like him. Coach Beck was just telling me to be ready, because they need some depth at running back. I told him I'll be ready for whatever they need me to do. He said he has a couple different ways he wants to get the ball in my hands, it all sounded good to me."

What about your new position coach, Ron Brown?

"Yeah, I got to meet coach Brown for the first time and we hit it off pretty good. We just sat down and talked for like 30 minutes. From talking to him on the phone I thought he was this young guy, so I didn't realize he was older until we met. He carries himself so well, I really like him. He speaks with passion and that's the type of coach I want to play for."

Talk about your impressions of the spring game and the way it played out.

"I know it's a new offense and they didn't want to show too much. So what you saw isn't really what you'll get this fall. From what I saw, I'll have an opportunity to play.

"I mean, Rex is great and really ran the ball well. But behind him they didn't really have a lot. I don't mean any disrespect towards those players; I just think I can bring something different to the table."

What would that be?

"Just speed I guess and some elusiveness. Other than Rex, they didn't seem to have anybody else that can make plays like I can. There was one play were the RB came outside around the offensive tackle and there was all this room to run, but he got tackled from behind and only gained like five yards. If that was me, I would have been around the edge and gained about 20 yards before anybody got close enough to make the tackle.

‘I can play in the slot too, I take pride in having hands like a receiver. I can play more than one position."

Ameer also said he would like a chance to return kicks, but after seeing the show Jamal Turner put on, that may have to wait.

"They were saying before the game that was one of the main things they need, kick returners. But after watching Jamal, wow, he looks scary good. That's my boy, we talked for a long time in the locker room after the game. He is just another great player in this freshman class we have coming in.

"And I'm ready to compete with him for that job, and you know that's my boy, but he'll have to beat me for the job. I told him ‘you made some highlight plays out there, but I can do some of the same things'. He said he welcomes the competition."

And after the game, he got to spend time with more of his future teammates.

"I chilled with the coaches after the game for a little while, then we all went and hung out with the players. Me and Max Pirman, Daniel Davie, Ryne Reeves, Ryan Klachko and that real tall kid (Zach Sterup) just all chilled together for awhile. I got to chill with big Yoshi too, so I got to know him pretty well.

"I couldn't believe how big some of these offensive linemen are. I'm used to running behind guys that are like 5-10, 180 pounds. I can't wait to run behind some of those big boys in Nebraska. I'm going to be hard to catch."

He also said the word has spread to the backups in Lincoln that a fresh crop of running backs are set to arrive this summer.

"Austin Jones already said he knows about me, Aaron Green and Braylon coming in. He said he and the other guys backing up Rex can already feel the pressure. He said he and the other guys are going to have to step up their game. But from what I saw in the spring game, after seeing them play, I know I can compete with those guys."

Ameer said he already has the arrival date circled on his calendar and can't wait until he gets to Lincoln to compete for playing time.

"I'm counting down the days until June 5th, that's when I get to Nebraska. I just plan on coming in and trying to earn my spot, and help the team win games any way I can."

He also already has a pretty good idea who his roommate will be when he arrives on campus.

"Me and Aaron Green have become pretty good friends, we talk all the time. He wanted to come to the spring game but had prom that weekend. I did talk to his brother Andrew and his father at the spring game though.

"I think me and Aaron are going to be rooming together this summer when we get there. I know he is looking to play his freshman year just like me. So we are going to room together so we can push each other. We're both looking forward to the challenge."

- Bryan Munson -

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