There is the saying that no one is irreplaceable. I think, as a rule, that saying is mostly correct. However when it comes to recruiting when you are dealing with a clock, geography, other schools, etc. there comes a time when trying to replace anyone becomes difficult.
And then there is trying to replace a player like Kendall Bussey. Bussey has the skill set for Nebraska’s offense. The 5-foot-9 and 190-pound, three-star running back from New Orleans (La.) Isidore Newman School is tailor-made for what Nebraska is looking for in a running back.
There is a way I would describe what the ideal running backs look like for this offense and it is “bowling ball”. That’s not short and round, but means put together. It also speaks more towards their feet, constantly going forward, they don’t slow down and are hard to stop.
The skill set that the recruit needs is diverse. You need a powerful runner for between the tackles yet you need someone quick enough to get to the edge. You want a guy who can break the arm tackles as well as a guy who gets to his top gear quickly and can break off long runs.
The other side is that you need a running back who is comfortable working in the running game. That not only means a player who works as a receiver out of the backfield, but how about out of the slot? A player who the more routes they know on the tree the better.
I would also have to include a player who understands pass protection. And let’s be honest here, this is where there will be a huge jump from high school to college as it is from college to the pros. It’s more about willingness to put yourself in front of some big guys getting clean release that may not be able to get to the quarterback, but will get another shot on you.
Another part I will add is vision. I think this is the skill that most often goes overlooked and isn’t brought up enough when it comes to playing running back in Nebraska’s offense.
When you have a chance to see Bussey in action and try to see him in red and white and not green and white you see a guy who more than likely contribute immediately. This doesn’t say anything negatively necessarily about the guys already in Lincoln. It has more to say about the abilities of Bussey.
There may be higher rated players in the class for Nebraska – possibly even at positions of greater need than the running back spot – but there is little doubt to me that Bussey is a guy that Nebraska must hold onto through the rest of this process.