Nebraska currently has 20 scholarship juniors on the roster. The question is, will there be that many in the fall? Taking a look at the list, it’s not hard to imagine a few taking off for individual greener pastures down the road. It’s also a deep group. The numbers of juniors who make an impact in 2015 will likely be greater than any other class.
Big Red Report’s Josh Harvey and Bryan Munson, contributor Matt Svoboda, and 1620 The Zone’s Josh Peterson (@joshtweeterson), rank the group’s top four. The panel was asked to rank in terms of impact for next season being the decisive factor.
Peterson can be heard HERE, Monday-Fridays from 2-6 p.m.
1.) Jordan Westerkamp, WR – There are concerns on who will be throwing him the ball, but take a look at Oregon State receiving numbers the last five years. Don’t expect to have any more seasons where 40 some catches leads the team in receptions, even if takes a few years for Riley/Langsdorf to get the offense where they want it to be. DPE isn’t the only guy on the offense who needs more touches
2.) Nate Gerry, S – He didn’t have the greatest game against USC, but who on the defense did? The CFN second-team sophomore All-American really grew as the season went on last year. Expect his second year at the safety spot to be even better with a returning position coach.
3.) Maliek Collins, DT – A new position coach will likely only give him new ideas and things to work on to get to the quarterback. Expect the Nebraska defensive line to be more aggressive in 2015. It starts with the former Missouri prep.
4.) Tommy Armstrong, QB – His 21 career starts will give him the nod for the job and working with Langsdorf should help him grow as a quarterback. For Armstrong, it will come down to his decision-making and accuracy. I could have easily gone with Josh Banderas here.
1.) Tommy Armstrong, QB – Take into consideration the experience advantage that Armstrong has over all of the other quarterbacks and he could be extremely difficult to beat out. That said, there is still a need for Armstrong to develop.
2.) Josh Banderas, LB – Looking at the returning linebackers there is no question that Banderas has to be intriguing to Trent Bray and the rest of the defensive staff. Banderas should be the man that will be manning the middle based on size and athleticism.
3.) Maliek Collins, DT – Collins had a solid sophomore year and a more single gap, attacking front could really benefit the production of the interior defensive lineman. Collins is a single-blocker nightmare because of his size, speed and explosiveness.
4.) Vincent Valentine, DT – Valentine along with Collins combines to make an incredible tandem inside that the defensive staff should be excited about. Valentine flashed at times his sophomore season and at others seemed to just go away. The focus with Valentine should be to stay more consistent, stay within the scheme/understand the scheme and really go to work at the nose.
1.) Maliek Collins, DT - Announced himself early and often as one of, if not the, best players on the defensive side of the ball for the Huskers. Expect even more from him in 2015.
2.) Nate Gerry, S - In a secondary that certainly had issues, Gerry was a constant ball hawk who found himself in position to make big plays.
3.) Greg McMullen, DE - Was overshadowed by bigger names on the DL in 2014, but his constant ability to make plays will be needed again in 2015.
4.) Jordan Westerkamp, WR - Continued to make exciting catches, but who will be throwing him the ball in 2015?
1.) Tommy Armstrong, QB - His 21 starts will win him the starting job and I expect a big jump in reading progressions, decision making, and learning to put touch on the ball.
2.) Maliek Collins, DT - He is a beast that will be the heart and anchor of the Blackshirt defense. Disruptive will be heard a million times in 2015 when talking about Collins.
3.) Michael Rose LB - Nebraska is desperate for a great run-stopping linebacker and Rose will play that role.
4.) Nate Gerry, S - He is a ball hawk that brings a lot of energy to the defense. Getting Coach Warren back will prove useful.
For the senior list, you can visit HERE.