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
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.
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.