Nebraska doesn’t open up camp for a little over a month, but Husker fans are already looking to break down next season’s roster.
In this feature, we look at three Nebraska players we believe are ready to bust out in 2016. Here is the interesting part, we are not including TRUE or REDSHIRT freshman on the list.
These are three guys who have been around the program, possibly even logged some serous time or starts, but are about to see their stocks boom.
No. 3 OT Tanner Farmer, RS Soph.
Over the course of 15 spring practices Farmer went from a guy that had a small chance of starting, to a projected starting at guard in 2016.
After dropping 40 pounds in the offseason, mostly due to wrestling, Farmer looked like a different man in March and April. Or at least like he did coming out of high school in 2014.
Offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh said Farmer is moving better than a year ago, not just because of the fat trim, but also because he’s the game has slowed down for the redshirt sophomore.
Farmer was a high school All-American coming out of high school. The expectations surrounding him might have been too big, but he looks to be on his way to being a big part of the front five.
No. 2 OT David Knevel RS Jr.
A former Canadian high school prep, Knevel hit Lincoln somewhat unpolished and was always viewed as a high-potential project. During the spring, the redshirt junior received first-team reps at right tackle, drawing praise from head coach Mike Riley as a guy who was putting it all together.
Knevel said in the spring he felt it was his time to take the reins and make the most of his opportunity. The 6-foot-9 offensive tackle knows he has come a long way in his development and is trying to use the size “God blessed” him with.
Over the last two seasons Knevel has played in 13 games, including nine games last season, but has yet to log a start.
Cavanaugh doesn’t believe he’s had a taller offensive lineman during his coaching career, but said Knevel moves well and gets good leverage.
Do we expect Knevel to put together an all-conference campaign – probably not. But he has the potential to be a solid starting Big Ten offensive tackle and that would be a major accomplishment for him considering his starting point.
No. 1 S Aaron Williams, Soph.
After logging three starts as a true freshman, Williams missed a portion of the spring with an injury, but ran with the first-team defense in the Red-White game. He tied for second in the contest with seven tackles.
While many might scratch their head and wonder how a former starter is making it on the list, it is our belief Williams is about to become a staple in the Nebraska secondary. The hard-hitting Georgia native was learning on the fly as a true freshman, but should benefit his second-time around from the experience. In addition, while he was hurt during the spring, he got extra time in the Huskers’ film room.
Williams has all-conference potential and will be playing alongside three-year starter Nate Gerry. In addition, Nebraska’s corners (Joshua Kalu and Chris Jones) should be better in 2016, which will only make Williams’ job easier.