Lincoln, NE - This time of year, coaches are restricted from publicly talking about recruits – committed or non-committed. But listen to Nebraska linebackers coach Ross Els closely enough and it's like he saying: "come on down Quanzell Lambert (6-foot-2, 245-pounds), your the next guy we need committed."
"We need bigger guys. A guy who can take on fullbacks," said Els. "Who can take on big tight ends and lineman coming at them."
Currently Nebraska has three committed at the linebacker position, but all appear to be the fast go to the ball type of player. After a year in the Big Ten, the coaching staff knows they will have to recruit the position differently going forward. Not only will speed remain important, but also size.
"In the Big 12, look at Nebraska last year. They were able to get away with playing one linebacker a lot of the time. Look at this year, we played with three much of the time," said Els. "That is a whole different recruiting dynamic. This will be, as Bo as said, if not the primary position we are recruiting this year, one of them for sure."
That said, Nebraska isn't ready to cash in all their speed on defense for just size.
"Give me the speed and footwork first. Everyone will use Lavonte David from here on out," said Els. "Every time I read about him as an All-American, he's a little bit undersized...but. Give me that little extra. Give me those feet first. Give me the biggest guy in the world, but if he doesn't have any feet, he can't play."
So what exactly does Els look for in a linebacker?
"I look for that flash across the field. That guy who's passing everyone else to go get the football. A lot of that is physical ability and speed, but most of it his just his desire to make a play."
2012 committed linebackers:
Michael Rose – 3 star (No. 11 MLB in the country)
Zaire Anderson – 3 star juco LB
Thomas Brown – 3 star (No. 43 MLB in the country)