Top 10 Countdown: No. 3

Over the next 20 days, Big Red Report’s Josh Harvey and Bryan Munson will countdown their most important 10 players to Nebraska success in 2014.

No. 10 - Harvey: Vincent Valentine / Munson: Jake Cotton

No. 9 - Harvey: Jake Cotton / Munson: Corey Cooper

No. 8 - Harvey: Corey Cooper / Munson: Tommy Armstrong

No. 7 - Harvey: Zaire Anderson / Munson: Rose

No. 6 - Harvey: Alex Lewis / Munson: Joshua Mitchell

No. 5 - Harvey: Ameer Abdullah / Munson: Alex Lewis

No. 4 – Harvey: Josh Mitchell / Munson: Kenny Bell

No. 3:

Harvey’s pick:
QB – Tommy Armstrong
Sophomore / 6-1 /220-pounds

No matter who’s under center in 2014, Nebraska doesn’t need their quarterback to win games, but instead just move the chains and take care of the football. The question is - can Armstrong do that? Ryker Fyfe has been a great story in fall camp, but I still feel like the Texas prep is well enough ahead to keep the starting QB job.

Nobody could have guessed Armstrong would have been throw into the fire as much as he was last season, so it’s hard to form any opinions off of 2013. He was playing with a makeshift offensive line, backup wide receivers, and an offense that wasn’t completely tailored for him.

Fall camp hasn’t been perfect, but Armstring is showing signs of improvement and a heavy dose of Ameer Abdullah and Imani Cross should protect the sophomore.

Munson’s pick:
DT – Vincent Valentine
Sophomore / 6-3 /320-pounds

There is no player that I am more ready to see come into his own than Valentine. Valentine has the physical tools and the athleticism to be great. We saw glimpses of it, but we also saw a player that wasn’t ready to be an every down player either.

By the sounds of it the lightbulb really came on this spring. The conditioning to be an every down player finally got there. The rumor mill was not busier for any player this spring than it was for Valentine based on the total transition that people were witnessing.

If you look at the defensive line you will see a monster at defensive end in Randy Gregory. But teams have ways of handling one guy on the front four if that is all that there is. A guy like Valentine is a game-changer for the Nebraska defense.

What’s more, is you think about the importance of a guy like Valentine in front of Josh Banderas at MIKE. You are going to need a guy that is going to not allow free release off of the line of scrimmage to reach your linebackers.

I have said all summer that this will be the best defense that Bo Pelini has had as a head coach at Nebraska. If that comes true then Valentine will have been a huge part in that success.

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