1.) Freedom Akinmoladun –Defensive end
The tight end converted defensive line has drawn praise from defensive coordinator Mark Banker and defensive line coach Hank Hughes in recent weeks. While the first-team defensive ends appear set, there still is likely an opening opposite of senior Joe Keels up for grabs. He’s definitely athletic on the edge.
2.) A.J. Bush/Zack Darlington – Quarterbacks
I already cheated, by listing two players in one spot, but since both are redshirt freshman and both have come on strong the last few weeks I made an exception. How Will Bush’s accuracy be when he has the ability to actually get hit? Speaking of getting hit, what will Darlington be like in the pocket when senior defensive tackle Kevin Williams is coming his way. I think playing in front of 70,000 fans will also be interesting to watch. Can they overcome the nerves quickly?
3.) LeRoy Alexander – Safety
After sitting out the 2014 season due to an undisclosed suspension, Alexander is getting second-team reps, but has solid experience in the secondary during the 2013 season. Byerson Cockrell hasn’t done anything on the first-team to not warrant being there, but Alexander is pushing. He gets a chance to impress during a live scrimmage on Saturday. Alexander has always been solid in run support and is a hard tackler.
4.) Adam Taylor – Running Back
Speaking of hard tackles, I want to see the Texas running back take one. Live scrimmages opportunities have been limited, meaning Taylor has been protected in practices. Sometimes it takes a couple nice pops for a guy to be really back. His leg injury last year definitely slowed his development.
5.) Josh Banderas – Linebacker
The Nebraska linebackers have looked faster this spring, swarming to the football. Now we want to see them take someone to the ground. The way Banderas’ (pictured) situation was handled the past two years was unfortunate, but he also did miss some tackles early in his career. Has he put it behind him? If the bowl game against USC was any indication, then yes the junior has. I want to see it again on Saturday. I think fans are going to be pleasantly surprised on how much different the Lincoln native looks.