Immediate Impact

Contribute. That is the word that needs to be mentioned with your name as a newcomer if you are going to play. It's easier said than done. Even the best at the high school or junior college level go to division one football and have to red shirt. Which players from the 2011 recruiting class for Nebraska should be considered as possible contributors in their first season in Lincoln?

Just because a player shows up for spring football doesn't mean that they should be penciled in as a player in the fall. It definitely helps, but there are positions that because of depth or because of a learning curve or just because there is such a leap to the collegiate level physically that players shouldn't be counted on to immediately contribute.

Nebraska welcomed three players from the 2011 class for spring practices, but this is the best recruiting class that Bo Pelini and his staff have landed at Nebraska. There are at least five players that could immediately fit into the picture and some others being on the fringe.

Pencil them in

A high school All-American, Turner showed in the spring game he could be an instant impact
Jamal Turner: Before the spring it looked like Turner might get lost in the shuffle at quarterback and while he's going to open eyes at any position that he would play the sheer numbers at quarterback meant limited reps while there were other positions where Turner could play now. Turner made the move to wide receiver and after four receptions for 93 yards and one touchdown. Turner also had a 59-yard punt return and two kickoff returns for a total of 76 yards including a 54-yard return.

Contribution:Turner figures immediately at the Z receiver spot and also on special teams as a punt returner and kick returner. Don't be surprised to see Turner involved in wildcat sets and possibly in the option attack.

Tyler Moore: Physically, Moore is ready. Yes, he got a little banged up in the spring game, but I am talking about the physical jump that an offensive lineman has to make from high school to college. Moore has tremendous size and athleticism for a big man and is ready to play at the division one level right now.

Contribution:Moore figures immediately into the right tackle picture with Marcel Jones. Moore could also push for reps at the left tackle spot depending on how well Jeremiah Sirles responds to his surgery and if Jermarcus Hardrick can be a consistent blocker at the left tackle spot.

Green could be Rex Burkhead's backup in the fall (Photo By: Josh Harvey)
Aaron Green: There isn't a need as pressing on offense than there is to find some depth behind Rex Burkhead. Green has special abilities as a ball carrier and that will help him get on the field immediately. Green has tremendous burst running the football as well as balance and vision. There is a need for at least two of the incoming running backs to be ready to play. There is no question that Green will be one of those guys that will be backing up Burkhead in the fall.

Contribution: Green should push for #2 time behind Burkhead. Expect much of the same type of grooming process that Burkhead went through as a turn freshman with 5-7 reps in the first game working his way up to 15-18 reps with Burkhead still getting the lion share.

Joe Carter: Carter is just different than any of the other defensive ends at Nebraska. Carter has a unique combination of size and speed and there is a hole opposite Cameron Meredith that needs to be filled. While players like Josh Williams and Jason Ankrah figure to be part of the picture at the spot opposite Meredith it's still up for grabs and a solid compliment is needed to not only take pressure off of Meredith, but also off of Jared Crick and Baker Steinkuhler on the interior.

Contribution: Carter could walk into a starting role in Lincoln, but should at the very least figure into reps on both sides immediately. Carter will need to work on getting off of his blocks a little bit, but he is a solid run defender and that will help him in the Big 10.

Daimion Stafford: First off, let me just say that I really like Stafford's film. Personally, I think that he is really the only guy that will be on the squad this fall that can do that Dejon Gomes/Eric Hagg type of peso/nickel position. Stafford has that ability to do well in man coverage and also is a threat to play in space as a safety. There is good depth at safety though and the players that are best in coverage will strive. Put Stafford down as a player next year.

Contribution:> Stafford should be able to step in an nail down the nickel spot, but could figure into the safety rotation immediately as well. Stafford is one of a small number of players that could play that peso spot if Nebraska plans on using it. Also, Stafford could figure into the special teams picture on coverage teams as well as a returner.

Possibly playing next year

Mauro Bondi: Bondi looked to have the inside track to start next year at least at kickoffs, but there might be some competition in sight. Nebraska is trying to nab a kicker from University of Nebraska-Omaha in Greg Zuerlein who would have one year to play possibly if he does transfer and the NCAA allows him to immediately contribute. The punting duties look like they will fall to Brett Maher who averaged 49.3 yards per punt in the spring game including one fore 56 yards. Maher and Ethan Davis figure into the field goal picture, as well as Zuerlein possibly, but this could be where Bondi gets a shot.

Contribution: Nebraska lost Adi Kunalic and Alex Henery and those are big shoes to fill. The Nebraska kicking game shows some promise and might not be as weak as what some people thought it might be. Bondi though only needs some inconsistencies in front of him or some good practices to get a look next year.

Braylon Heard/Mike Marrow: I am including both Heard and Marrow here because if both become qualified/eligible then they will play. That is the only thing standing in the way of both of these players from seeing the field this fall. There is a need for depth at tailback that Heard brings to the table and there is a need for a short yardage/big tail back and also a bit more of a play maker at fullback in Marrow.

Contribution: Both could have significant impacts next year if they are eligible to play. Marrow could find his way into the starting lineup as a fullback and Heard could move as high as #2 behind Burkhead and working with Green to provide depth at the running back position. I think that Ameer Abdullah out of the incoming running backs is the more likely candidate to red shirt, but he could also play as well depending on Heard's eligibility.

Charles Jackson: Again, Jackson falls here and not in the top number of players to figure on seeing next year because of eligibility. This one though is more about academics. Jackson is a talent at the cornerback position and plays an aggressive style that seems to fit in to what Coach Corey Raymond wants his cornerbacks to play. Academics is a huge hurdle still for Jackson and it's going to be interesting to see if he makes it to Lincoln this August.

Contribution: If Jackson were able to make it to Lincoln Jackson figures into the top three to four cornerbacks immediately. Jackson would be just an injury away to Alfonzo Dennard or Ciante Evans from playing just like Evans was last year against Missouri. Jackson would be that heir apparent across from Evans and it would be a big blow to this class to not have the #2 rated cornerback in the nation make it to town because of academics.

Bubba Starling: Someone has to say it so I will. If Starling makes it to Lincoln and decides to stay in school this year the Huskers are on an egg timer anyway on the grid iron to coincide with Starling's eligibility with the MLB draft again. Starling would ONLY have to be a junior in baseball to be drafted again. There is clearly going to be a competition in the fall and Starling athletically will stand out.

Contribution: Starling could play in his first year if he emerges from the quarterback competition as one of the top two guys. There is some stiff competition to make it to one of those top two spots, but don't rule out some packages or plays being installed for Starling to run even if he's not in the top two on the depth chart.

Bottom line, there are many players beyond the players that have already made it to Lincoln for spring practices and I haven't even mentioned Kevin Williams. Williams has looked very good for a true freshman. Williams has promise, but needs to add some size. There are even players like Ryan Klachko and Ryne Reeves that could figure into the hunt for backup duties at the center position behind Mike Caputo.

There are players that figure into the immediate picture, those that could and obviously those that are headed for a red shirt. While no coach will tell a player that they are going to red shirt that comes with a good reason. A player needs to stay not just physically ready, but mentally ready to step in and play. Case in point, Ciante Evans against Missouri last year. If Evans is less than 100% prepared for that game then Nebraska probably loses.

One thing is for sure, there is great balance in the class of 2011 when it comes to those immediate contributors and players that will be able to develop and potentially become the gems of the class. This is clearly the strongest class for Bo Pelini and his staff when it comes to recruiting and sets a solid direction for the program immediately and in the future.

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Will Starling stay or will he go? (Photo By: Josh Harvey)