Nebraska currently has 13 players in the sophomore class heading into the 2015 season. It's a group that doesn't feature a ton of starting experience, but has some players who made big contributions last season.
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, but to also weigh in potential for the sophomore and freshman group.
Peterson can be heard HERE, Monday-Fridays from 2-6 p.m.
*** THE SOPHOMORES ***
1.) De'Mornay Pierson-El, WR/Returner – It shouldn’t be a question if DPE is getting enough touches, but if he’s getting too many? It will be interesting to see this spring how they use him on offense, we already know what he can be on special teams.
2.) Joshua Kalu, DB – The Texas freshman played big snaps down the stretch last season because of injuries. It should not only help his confidence, but defensive awareness going into the spring. The secondary looks loaded but he will find a spot to play.
3.) Drew Brown, K – He struggled as a freshman, but those struggles were also inflated by Nebraska fans and media spoiled by Huskers' unheard of success at the position the last decade. He will be better in 2015.
4.) Kieron Williams, DB – Same thing as Kalu, he plays in a loaded group, but made 13 appearances last year and has actually been around Coach Warren the longest of all the players. Becoming a standout on special teams and a top reserve on defense will get you plenty of opportunities. Could have gone Adam Taylor here as well.
1.) De'Mornay Pierson-El, WR/Returner – Do I really need to say anything here? DPE is lightning in a bottle and is one of just a handful of guys that I think could really make a statement for playing offense, special teams and defense. He can really do it all and down the stretch he was the go-to guy.
2.) David Knevel, OT – Knevel would have made my list last year based on similar hype that Lewis was getting. It will be very interesting how the two of them progress with the new staff knowing what we know now coming from being very optimistic from spring/summer to not necessarily living up to the hype in the fall. I still anticipate big things for Knevel.
3.) Joshua Kalu, DB – Consider me in the camp of the very impressed when it comes to speaking about what Kalu did as a true freshman. He was relied heavy upon down the stretch when injuries piled up and he played big. Kalu got some good experience under his belt and is one of the reasons to feel good about the future of the secondary in Lincoln.
4.) Johnny Stanton, QB – This might be an odd choice, but consider me optimistic by the changes with the coaching staff, Riley’s interest in Stanton when he was at Oregon State and what that might mean to an open quarterback competition in Lincoln.
1.) De’Mornay Pierson-El, WR/Returner - the best player on offense will be needed immensely in 2015, but how do they get him the ball? And how many opportunities does he get in the return game?
2.) Joshua Kalu, DB - had a good freshman season but more will be expected from him in 2015.
3.) Adam Taylor, RB - the wildcard at the running back position. How’s his recovery coming? Where does he fit into the offense? Such an unknown, albeit one I really like.
4.) Drew Brown, K - confidence seemed to wane as season went on, but he will be needed in 2015.
1.) Marcus Newby, OLB - Injuries held him down this year, but with his speed, aggressiveness, and versatility he will be a force next season.
2.) Joshua Kalu, DB - Made some big plays as a true freshman, he will be on the field a lot more and continue to make big plays. He will be the best corner Nebraska has had since Alfonzo Dennard.
3.) De’Mornay Pierson-El, WR/Returner - Riley and Langsdorf like extending the field and DPE will be their guy. He will be the first Nebraska WR to hit the 1,000-yard mark in a season. Not to mention his All American impact as a special teams weapon.
For the senior list, you can visit HERE.
For the junior list, you can visit HERE.