BRR offseason outlook: Running back

How in the world will Nebraska offensive coordinator Tim Beck keep all of his running backs happy in 2014? is going to take a position-by-position look of what we learned about the Huskers from spring practices heading into the bulk of the offseason.


Call it homerish, but is there a backfield in America deeper than Nebraska's entering the 2014 season?

After what was likely a second or third round draft grade from the NFL Draft Advisory Board, senior Ameer Abdullah returns fresh. The former Alabama prepster took only a couple hits this spring – including no carries in the spring game. Abdullah averaged 6.0 yards per carry last year and will likely be a Heisman candidate going into the fall. With a strong season, Abdullah will finish No. 2 on the Nebraska career rushing chart and passing Mike Rozier's record of 4,780 career yards isn't out of the question.

Imani Cross

Set to backup Abdullah for the third straight season is Imani Cross, who returned to his normal playing weight of 230-pounds this spring. Most fans figured Cross would take a backseat to a younger crop of running backs in Nebraska's rotation, but proved he wasn't going anywhere. The junior was quicker to the hole and even harder to bring down than in previous years – if anything he showed he deserves more reps. His six carries for 100 yards in the spring game have to make he feel confident going into the offseason.

"I can honestly say he probably studies more than anybody. He's dedicated. What he brings to the field is so much knowledge," said Abdullah during the spring. "Imani is really wise beyond his years."

The exciting name going into March was redshirt freshman Adam Taylor, a former four-star running back who was named Nebraska's Scout Team Offensive Player of the Year last season. Taylor didn't disappoint, but looks like a younger version of Ameer Abdullah, which might hurt his reps. Cross is a bruiser, bigger style back that can be used around the goal line and in short yardage situation. The interesting thing about Taylor is if Abdullah had left for the pros, he might be the feature back, with Abdullah back, it's likely he will be third on the team in carries. The thing that impressed Big Red Report most about the back this spring was his ability to catch the ball on the flats and make a move.

Last, but certainly not least, is sophomore Terrell Newby. Newby is a lightning quick running back who has home run ability any time he touches the ball. While the other three backs seemed more consistent during the spring, Newby's big plays kept him in the mix for this fall. Nebraska will likely be able to use the second-year player in creative ways.

"Our stable of backs is terrifying. It's a scary group for defenses. It's so talented. They are a deep group," said receiver Kenny Bell in the spring. "I feel bad for Coach Beck and Coach Brown. I wouldn't want to figure that out."

To say Nebraska's top four running backs could all start at most schools across the country isn't a stretch.


1.) Ameer Abdullah - senior
2.) Imani Cross - junior
3A.) Adam Taylor - redshirt freshman
3B.) Terrell Newby - sophomore

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