Nebraska: Play or no play?

After getting a chance to watch spring practices, here is Big Red Report's first set of projections when it comes to first-year players who will contribute in the fall.

CB.) Eric Lee – REDSHIRT
Getting a chance to learn the defense this spring will help him going forward, but right now there is just too much depth in the secondary for the Colorado high school product to make an impact next season.

DB.) Avery Anderson – REDSHIRT
See Lee.

OT.) Christian Gaylord – REDSHIRT
The Kansas product has a chance to be a three-year starter in the future at offensive tackle, but would benefit from a year working on his size and technique. With two seniors right now slotted on the first-team, and guys like David Knevel and Nick Gates drawing praise, it’s likely a year of learning for Gaylord.

DL.) Khalil Davis – REDSHIRT
I think his brother has the better chance of playing right away, but Nebraska’s pretty solid right now at defensive tackle with Maliek Collins, Vincent Valentine, Kevin Williams, and Kevin Maurice. In addition, Mick Stoltenberg has really come on this spring.

DT.) Carlos Davis – REDSHIRT
I would have thought he would make an impact in 2015, but the five guys I listed above have done enough to allow Coach Hughes to save Carlos for a year.

OL.) Michael Decker – REDSHIRT
It’s hard to play year one in the trenches. Decker could end up being a center down the road, but will need a year working with Coach Cavanaugh. In high school, he’s been able to use his sheer size at times to over power defensive lineman. He won’t be able to get away with that next year.

WR.) Stanley Morgan – WILL PLAY
Nebraska could use a couple wide receivers on the outside who can go up and get the ball. Morgan will be about as athletic as anybody at the position on the roster. He’s had solid high school coaching and Keith Williams isn’t afraid to play a freshman.

OLB.) Tyrin Ferguson – REDSHIRT
Ferguson does a nice job coming off the edge as a blitzing linebacker. If Nebraska feels they are missing someone like that for certain situations, he’s got a shot, but we feel Marcus Newby fits the same role.

S.) Aaron Williams – WILL PLAY
The hard-hitting safety has impressed the coaches enough this spring to get first-team reps from time-to-time and work in the NICKEL. He looks like he’s ahead of Lee and Anderson, other early enrollees.

OLB.) Dedrick Young – WILL PLAY
The Arizona prep did himself a favor enrolling early and is right now getting second-team reps. Coach Bray will likely have no choice of playing him, although he probably deserves it. Young has done a tremendous job in coverage.

RB.) Devin Ozigbo – REDSHIRT
All we need to do is list some names: Imani Cross, Terrell Newby, Mikale Wilbon, Adam Taylor. Even guys like Graham Nabity, a walk-on, is getting praise from Coach Riley this spring. No chance.

OG.) Jalin Barnett – REDSHIRT
Barnett is talented enough to play at a lot of power five schools as a true freshman, but there are already a couple talented high school All-Americans at the position from a year ago in D.J. Foster and Tanner Farmer.

DE.) DaiShon Neal – RESHIRT
Neal will need to add weight and at this point needs to work on his ability to stop the run. He’s a couple years away, despite the position needing some help going into the fall.

OLB.) Mohammed Barry – REDSHIRT
Barry will need a year to get his weight up, but will be at a position that anything could happen. The top four is likely set, but they need probably at least six to be ready.

TE.) Matt Snyder – WILL PLAY
The staff likes what they have in Sam Cotton and Cethan Carter, but we think Snyder has the talent as a true freshman to come in and be the No. 3 guy at the position. That means he will need to be ready. The likeliness that both Cotton and Carter play all 14 games (see what I did there?) seems unlikely.

LS.) Jordan Ober – WILL PLAY
You don’t recruit a scholarship long snapper to sit. Coach Read has already said Ober will make Sam Foltz better next year. He’s going to be playing against BYU.

LB/DB Antonio Reed – REDSHIRT
The hybrid athlete will need the typical year of getting ready for the college game before he becomes a contributor on special teams.

DE.) Alex Davis – REDSHIRT
Davis has the chance to be a really good player someday, but he’s really raw at this point, after just two years of playing football. He’s a long-term project, with big-time potential.

WR.) Lavan Alston – WILL PLAY
There is so much talent at the wide receiver position, but Alston will be faster than most. The high school All-American didn’t sign with Nebraska to sit on the sidelines, even this fall. The coaching staff sold him on playing right away and recent comments by Keith Williams shows that freshman at the skill position have a chance.

LB.) Adrienne Talan – REDSHIRT
Some schools recruited him as a defensive back, but he will play linebacker at Nebraska. He needs a year to add weight.

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