Lincoln, NE - Cameron Meredith, Jason Ankrah, Eric Martin, and Joe Carter have a lock on the first four defensive ends spots heading into 2012 for Nebraska. But defensive coordinator John Papuchis won't rule out using true freshman Avery Moss this season, despite not being in the first or second team rotation.
"He's as far along as any freshman defensive end that I have had," said Papuchis on Thursday. "There is certainly an opportunity...when he's on the field he makes a difference. You can tell he makes an impact. Technique wise he doesn't always do the right thing, sometimes he doesn't seem to know all the right things, but when he's on the field he makes his way to the football and makes plays. That is something you can't teach."
Moss, who was deemed a project by most high school recruiting expects coming out of his senior year, was a two-sport athlete in high school – also playing basketball. With his focus now completely on the game of football, Moss showing more on the field than most expected – including Papuchis.
"Surprising," said Papuchis. "He's shown enough that he can help this football team this fall. He rushes the passer well. He makes plays."
Because he's a freshman, Moss is not able to talk with the media until he participates in his first game, but defensive line coach Rick Kaczenski is noticing the same things Papuchis sees in the Arizona product. He's also noticing how the future is going to be bright for the true freshman.
"Now that he is specializing in just football, you can see how physically gifted he is and how much bigger he can get," said Kaczenski. "He's one of those guys that the bigger and stronger he gets the quicker and faster he becomes, which is a rarity."
Moss was a high school All-American in high school, but had very limited high school football experience before arriving to Nebraska.