Nebraska has no major targets at the running back position for the 2012 class. The reason why? With three talented running backs entering the program this fall and a smaller class expected, there isn't room.
"Hopefully their feet are wet. They are going to need to get here and get after it. Somebody is going to have to play in that group," said Nebraska running back's coach Ron Brown. "When you look at the running back position, we have very little experience besides Rex (Burkhead)...We have talented men coming in. They should all vie for playing time down the road, it's going to be interesting how it all shakes out.
"There are very few teams at this level who make it with one running back. You look at Mark Ingram, he wins the Heisman as a sophomore and the next year he's splitting time after getting arthroscopic knee surgery. That is the just the nature of the beast with the position."
Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini has shown in the past he's not afraid to rely on a freshman back. Just two years ago, Burkhead carried the ball 82 times, collecting nearly 350 yards.
"It's a great scenario, we just have to sort it out. One of the things I'm going be looking at is not just their physical talent, but who displays mental toughness and maturity," said Brown. "I think the toughest guy on the field and the guy that needs to be the most mentally ready is the running back. That's what we have preached here at the University of Nebraska for years. It's been a great place for running backs to thrive and excel. So many of them have had great mental toughness. I want to be coaching the heart and soul of the offense, that is what the position is all about."
The factor yet to be talked about in finding Nebraska's next young back who will step up, the Tim Beck offense. With changes to the system, Brown is unsure if Nebraska will begin to change how they recruit the running back position down the road.
"I think it depends. Backs come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes you figure out more about your offense after a little while under your belt. We are still evolving, we are still working through some things with our players on who we really are," said Brown. "With a new offensive system under Coach Beck, we still need to learn who we have. I think we have a great blend of backs who could play multiple ways."