2016 Nebraska Profile: Mikale Wilbon

A look at Nebraska sophomore running back Mikale Wilbon in 2016.


Year: Redshirt Sophomore

2015 recap:

The Offensive Scout Team MVP in 2014, Wilbon showed flashes of his ability during fall camp last year. But, could never propel himself up the depth chart to dethrone Imani Cross, Terrell Newby or even true freshman Devine Ozigbo.

Wilbon registered only nine carries for 35 yards, not logging a rushing attempt after South Alabama.

Late in the season, Wilbon was praised for the extra effort he was putting in after practices to try to improve his game.

2016 preview:

No one has ever questioned Wilbon's running ability, but the third-year back couldn't do enough of the rest of the things last season to see substantial time on the field. This past spring, the former Illinois product received another look. 

"It's being able to know the offense and being able to know the defense so he can be productive when he's in the game," said running back coach Reggie Davis. "I have seen a greater understanding. I know he works hard at it, especially in the areas of protections. I think he has studied that harder.

"From a player-callers standpoint, you gotta know who's in the game. You don't want to have to look out there and say, 'ugh, I can't call this but it would be a great call right now, but I can't call it because that guy is in the game.' You don't want to do that to your team and be predictable." 

Wilbon was productive on the ground during the spring game, carrying the ball eight times for 31 yards and a touchdown.

Nebraska head coach Mike Riley stressed during the spring the staff needed to find ways to get the runner involved.

"The guy we have to get going is Mikale Wilbon," Riley said. "He's got the ability. He's just got to get into the flow — learn better and then produce. Ability wise, he should be playing." 

Nebraska’s backfield is once again loaded, but might not have that true workhorse All-Conference type player in the stable. Wilbon will receive more carries than last season, but we don’t expect the same workload as Terrell Newby and Devine Ozigbo. 

How he ended up in Lincoln: Originally a Vanderbilt commit, Wilbon opened things up when James Franklin left for Penn State in January – immediately the Huskers gave him a call.

A few weeks later, Wilbon was officially visiting Nebraska. A week after that, he was committing to Bo Pelini and crew when the head coach was in his living room for an in-home visit.

Wilbon was a three-star recruit and rated the nation’s No. 40 running back in last year’s class. His offer list was an impressive one, including scholarship nods from Iowa, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia Tech, Mississippi State, etc.

Big Red Report Top Stories