The keys to the 2013 class

Every year recruiting analysts go away to a room and look at a team's roster, look at the class of the players, which position they play and at the depth chart to determine class needs. The class of 2013 for Nebraska is a critical one in many areas. There appears to be five key positions where Nebraska needs to focus on and make it a strength in the class of 2013.

The class of 2012 for Nebraska was defense heavy like many suspected it needed to be. Still when you look at the class of 2012, there were holes at certain positions that could have been filled and will need to be filled in the 2013 class.

The immediate holes where it seems Nebraska wanted another player in the class of 2012 was offensive tackle, tight end, quarterback and cornerback. So you carry over these needs to 2013 as some of the top targets.

Then look at the roster and who is departing after the 2012 year. To break it down a little more, let's list out the position and the current depth that is there, as well as the offers that are out on the table to players at these positions:

Top 5 positions of need for 2013:

1. Offensive Tackle – The good news is the senior offensive lineman in 2012 appear to be more of the interior variety: Seung Hoon Choi, Justin Jackson and Brandon Thompson. But looking at how the positions probably break out you see where the hole of not getting a top-flight offensive tackle in 2012 are driving the urgency of getting two in 2013. At offensive tackle, if appears you are looking at Jake Cotton, Tyler Moore, Jeremiah Sirles, Givens Price, Zach Sterup and potentially Mike Moudy. On that list only two, Moore and Sirles, have ever seen a snap in a live game. There is talent and youth at the position, but it's no coincidence that Nebraska has been recruiting offensive tackles heavily so far for 2012.

The targets: Colin McGovern, Deon Mix, Derwin Gray, Ethan Pocic, Jack Keeler, John Montelus, Kenneth Santa Marina, Kenny Lacy and Zach Hannon.

2. Tight End – Nebraska tried to get a second tight end down the stretch of 2012 to join Sam Cotton in the class. Nebraska also courted some of the top tight ends in the nation around the time that Cotton actually committed last year, only to have them commit and sign with other schools. Nebraska needs to do a couple of things at the tight end position this year. One, they need that tight end that really plays more like a third tackle like Ben Cotton has been excellent at doing while in Lincoln. Two, Nebraska needs to look for more of a player like a Kyler Reed that could play anywhere from the traditional Y spot to more of an H (backfield) to a U (motioning out of the backfield). There is a need for two quality tight ends in the class with Cotton and Reed departing and behind them leaving only Jake Long as the only other tight end with game experience.

The targets: Adam Breneman, Chans Cox, Durham Smythe, Jon Wisnieski, Keith Towbridge, Marcus Baugh and potentially Josh Augusta, Dylan Chmura, Mitch Parsons and Christian Morgan.

3. Quarterback – Another position that Nebraska would have liked to get another player at in 2012, but failed to do so is quarterback. The Huskers nabbed Tommy Armstrong, who could come in this summer and shake things up a bit, but even with the addition of Armstrong to the quarterback position there are only three quarterbacks on scholarship on the team. The incumbent, Taylor Martinez, would appear to be the frontrunner into the spring and the fall to be the starter, while Brion Carnes who performed well in the spring game of 2011 might be gaining more confidence from the coaching staff and could push for time. Still, there is a need every year to grab one quarterback and while Martinez is just a junior, Carnes a sophomore and Armstrong a freshman there is a need for at least one top-flight quarterback this year and potentially a second.

The targets: Aaron Bailey, J.T. Barrett, Malik Zaire, Tyler Cogswell and potentially Trent Hosick and Brayden Scott.

Malik Zaire

4. Cornerback – Nebraska did a great job going out and getting a junior college cornerback last year in Mohammed Seisay. He has prior D-I experience and dominated at the junior college level. Nebraska also grabbed LeRoy Alexander last year, which could figure into the equation, looking a lot like Seisay at around 6-foot-2 and 190-pounds, but ultimately Alexander might end up at safety. Nebraska pegged and courted a lot of true cornerbacks through November and December, but came up empty in their search. The Huskers ultimately looks to fill some big shoes in 2013 left open by the departure of Alfonzo Dennard to the NFL and they are also looking for answers at the other cornerback position. Towards the middle of 2011, it appeared that Aaron Green was separating himself from the pack, but was continually picked on by the opposition and gave up big plays. Players like Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Ciante Evans, and Josh Mitchell earned playing time as well in 2011. Contributors like Antonio Bell and Jase Dean, who are seniors in 2012, as well as a need for consistency and team speed in the secondary the importance of the cornerback spot in the recruiting class of 2013 is a big one.

The targets: Chris Hawkins, Cole Luke, Devin Butler, Jalen Banks, Jalen Ramsey, Kendall Fuller, Kirk Garner, Maurice Smith, Tre Bell and potentially Mike Minter, Jr.

5. Defensive End – This position has become even more important with Josh Williams no longer being on the roster, but also when you look at the current roster you see Cameron Meredith, Eric Martin and Joe Carter are all seniors. Behind those players you are left with Jason Ankrah as being the only other player on the roster that has experience at the position. There is some youth and potential though with players like Greg McMullen and Avery Moss joining the team this summer, but between Ankrah to the true freshmen are some big question marks. Players like Walker Ashburn and Donovan Vesta,l who have yet to emerge, and possible move of Tobi Okuyemi to defensive tackle seems like a reasonable certainty considering the injuries at that spot this spring. Nebraska must nab two at this spot again in 2013 and have put out a number of offers already.

The targets: A.J. Natter, Chauntez Jackson, Dajaun Drennon, Elijah Daniel, Joe Mathis, Kylie Fitts, Tashawn Bower and potentially Chikwe Obasih.

A position that was definitely worthy of top five consideration is safety. Nebraska has started out quickly though at the spot nabbing four-star recruit, Marcus McWilson. Nebraska needs safeties with more range and speed and Wilson is definitely someone that has both at the safety position.

The good thing for Nebraska is that the class for 2013 should be bigger than the class of 2012 where Nebraska grabbed just 17 prospects. The five positions that I laid out above should account for roughly nine spots in the class of 2012 which is more than half of the total number of commitments taken in 2012.

Bryan Munson has worked with Big Red Report for nine years covering recruiting and football and has covered Nebraska recruiting for 11 years. His work can also be seen in's SuperPrep Magazine.
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