Early contributors

Could a chance in philosophy be coming? It appears Nebraska will be looking to get as many freshman on the field as they can this fall. The coaching staff's mindset - if they can help they team, they will play.

In 2013 just five first-year players saw action instead of redshirting. Of those five, two were junior college transfers. Arguably there were some players the Nebraska staff were choosing to redshirt that could have played a role last year.

Bo Pelini has previously always spoke about the desire to redshirt every incoming player. That tune changed in February during the Huskers' National Signing Day press conference, when the head coach informed Husker nation he told every incoming freshman player to be ready.

There are as many as 13 players that Big Red Report says you could see this fall.

Josh Banderas

Why he plays - Nebraska doesn't return a single starter from any of the linebacker spots last year. Additionally the projected starter at the BUCK position, Thomas Brown, was recently excused from the sqaud. The linebacker position needs immediate help and Banderas could play any of the three spots.
Why he doesn't play - Simply put, there aren't enough bodies left on the roster to keep Banderas off the field. He plays - period.


Cethan Carter

Cethan Carter

Why he plays - A late addition to the 2013 class, Carter may be one of the most over-looked and underestimated of all of the newcomers. The tight end position at Nebraska has numbers, but not a true playmaker anymore. Carter has soft hands and can still set the edge as a blocker. Carter was recently mentioned by Taylor Martinez during Big Ten media days as a person that could help the offense this season.
Why he doesn't play - Nebraska does have numbers at tight end. There were eight receptions by four different tight ends in the spring game.

Maliek Collins

Why he plays - Pelini recently commented about Collins at Big Ten Media Days, saying he came to Lincoln "as a man." I think that you can attribute that to a physical toughness Collins clearly displayed on his high school film and also to his wrestling background. The defensive tackle position lacks depth and experience.
Why he doesn't play - Thad Randle is finally healthy and Brodrick Nickens seems to have found a home at defensive tackle. Still, the numbers dictate and Collins will play this year.

Matt Finnin

Why he plays - The rule of thumb on junior college transfers is they are brought in to immediately contribute. Finnin brings with him solid technique that he displayed at the junior college level last year and also shows some attitude when it comes to finishing his blocks. The offensive line is the best it's been in the Pelini era and should take another step forward this year.
Why he doesn't play - He plays.

Nathan Gerry

Why he plays - Have you seen Gerry's picture on Twitter? He's part Incredible Hulk and part Bain from Batman. Then you have to find his dunk on YouTube and it's clear that Gerry is an athlete. Nebraska needs to get more physical in the secondary, particularly at safety, and Gerry can do just that. Gerry can also help the Huskers improve on their special teams particularly when it comes to coverage.
Why he doesn't play - Can Gerry come in and pick up the defense? Harvey Jackson was very solid in the spring and Nebraska is high on Corey Cooper. Gerry might not be worth pulling out of a redshirt to just play special teams.


Randy Gregory

Randy Gregory

Why he plays - Everyone's shoe-in to play next year after signing day was Gregory. That was until his academics kept him out of Lincoln all summer long. Still, Gregory has too many physical tools to stay off the field at a position that is in desperate need of some immediate help. Gregory is the kind of guy that can play the 4-3 end to the 3-4 outside linebacker.
Why he doesn't play - I expect Gregory will have to acclimate himself through the non-conference schedule and play a bigger role as the season goes along. He plays.

Chongo Kondolo

Why he plays - Kondolo was another player that was a shoe-in to play this fall because he was a junior college transfer, but also because as an offensive tackle at Fresno he really showed great feet and pass protection. The offensive line at Nebraska has been just an injury away at each spot along the line before crisis.
Why he doesn't play - Kondolo hasn't been in Lincoln all year and he likely moves inside to offensive guard after playing offensive tackle in junior college. Because he's a junior college player though he likely plays.

Kevin Maurice

Why he plays - This is possibly the player that is the least likely on this list to see the field, but it's not because he's not capable. Maurice was a solid, two-way lineman in high school, who looked a lot like Collins did on film. He was a strong player, had a good motor and made a lot of plays behind the line of scrimmage.
Why he doesn't play - Two reasons why Maurice won't see the field are Thad Randle and Brodrick Nickens. A healthy Aaron Curry likely seals the deal and keeps Maurice in a redshirt.

Gabriel Miller

Why he plays - For those that didn't choose Randy Gregory as the immediate contributor out of the 2013 class, the others all chose Miller. Miller was the No. 2 rated long-snapper in the country last year and with P.J. Mangieri lost to graduation there is a huge hole at snapper.
Why he doesn't play - Unless there is another player on the team that can do it better there is no way the freshman doesn't play next year.

A.J. Natter

Why he plays - Second only to Maurice, Natter is another who could easily be on the sidelines this fall. The Wisconsin native was mentioned at Big Ten media days last week by Bo Pelini though and that says something. Natter is a physical specimen.
Why he doesn't play - If Moss gets his legal issues resolved and if Greg McMullen is healthy and ready to go then it could be tough to pull Natter out of a redshirt. But, when I think about Pelini's statement of "guns on the bench last year" that could very well extend to Natter this year.


Terrell Newby

Terrell Newby

Why he plays - Newby can do so much for Nebraska this fall on the football field offensively. The Huskers could use the California product in the offensive backfield, in the slot, or even on special teams. With guys like Newby on your team, Tim Beck can use his imagination and get creative.
Why he doesn't play - None, he plays.

D.J. Singleton

Why he plays - Two years ago, I felt Singleton was a great fit for Pelini's defense in the peso spot. A former Wisconsin signee, Singleton is like a linebacker playing in the secondary. He's huge. He's long. The safety position is in need of overhaul and in need of depth. Singleton can also help out on special teams when it comes to coverage.
Why he doesn't play - Charles Jackson is moving to safety and he may have the most potential of anyone on the team currently. Couple Jackson with Harvey Jackson and Cooper back there and things might get tough for Singleton. In addition, Andrew Green is getting some work as a safety.

Adam Taylor

Why he plays - Nebraska wants to pound the rock and even with pulling Newby out of a redshirt this year that doesn't mean all of his touches will come at running back. Nebraska needs tough runners and while Imani Cross has been trying to cut weight and increase his quickness, it was clear there was still work to do from the spring game. Taylor fills that gap, while Cross still handle short-yardage and could lead block.
Why he doesn't play - I don't see any way Taylor doesn't get on the field. Nebraska lost Braylon Heard in the spring leaving just Ameer Abdullah and Cross as the only two returning, scholarship running backs. Taylor plays this year.

*** BRR Publisher Josh Harvey contributed to this report ***

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Bryan Munson has worked with Big Red Report for 11 years covering recruiting and football and has covered Nebraska recruiting for 13 years.
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