The "SIGNING DAY" SKINNY

Yesterday, the Nebraska Cornhuskers signed 18 football players and we are going to take a look at them. Each player, we have quotes from coach Callahan and I give you the HuskerConnection Film evaluation of this class, player by player, we give you coach Callahan's "Skinny" on them and we give you ours on just what they looked like and what you might expect in the future? Who will be the stars? Who will be the duds, if any? Check it out to find out.

WR

Terrence Nunn

6-0/187/4.50

The Skinny: "One of the top receivers out of Texas, he has legitimate track speed at 10.6 in the 100 meters. Turner Gill (receivers coach) is very excited about him. He has a legitimate track background and we could feature him in a lot of different ways. He has tremendous ball skills. You will see positive signs and traits in his play. Hopefully, we can plug him in early."
FILM: What Terrence brings to the table is pretty appropriate for the west coast offense. He has good hands, has good moves even in tight spaces, though he's not an ankle breaker in terms of straight cut-back ability. Slippery might be a better definition as he has good control of his body and can move between tacklers and avoid the big hit. Decent speed once he's in the open-field, but enough burst to create separation, Nunn's potential gives him a legit shot at seeing the field early for the Huskers.

QB

Jordan Adams

6-4/200/- 

The Skinny :"He is a young player, who is continuing to develop his skills at his position. He provides us with good size and additional depth at the quarterback position. He will compete for a starting position. He is an outstanding student and has the ability to throw the ball inside and outside of the pocket."
FILM: One thing you can tell right away by looking at Jordan's film is that he was well-coached. His mechanics aren't what you would call prototypical, but he's fundamentally very sound from his feet to his delivery and how he holds onto the ball. A pretty quick release, what would seem to be a decent comprehension of the play as it's happening and an ability to throw on the run. Actually, when it comes to the throws, Jordan looks to have them all, not being constrained by one release point over another. He's also not overly "happy" in the pocket, showing decent poise. What will probably determine how soon Jordan sees the field will not only be learning the new offense, but how he does under the gun and moving outside of the pocket when it's not a designed play. The offensive line is going to be green in certain areas again, so how he does both in and out of the pocket should dictate just how soon he climbs the chart.  

DB

Cortney Grixby

5-9/165/4.35

   
The Skinny:"It is hard to classify this guy; he is a quarterback, a wide receiver, a defensive back. Overall, he is an outstanding athlete and this is a great pick for us. He is the most dynamic player in-state. He is the most dynamic and gifted player in this recruiting class. He can create plays when the ball is in his hands and he is a legitimate threat to make a play whenever the ball is in his hands. His vision and elusiveness are very, very good. The possibility of him playing on both sides of the ball is great. He is a great competitor and I am glad he decided to come to Nebraska"
FILM: After watching Cortney in action on either side of the ball, the question isn't what he can do, rather what he can't do and the answer is shorter than the question itself. Cortney is pure and simply a marvelous athlete that gives you the benefits of all that, that entails. From the CB position, his athleticism helps him match almost any wide receiver out there from the line of scrimmage to going for the ball. On the offensive side, Grixby is elusive inside, a nightmare for defenders in the open field and shows some excellent instincts no matter where you put him. In this day and age, it's almost a sin to call someone an athlete because it means to some that he's not good enough for any one position. I would call Grixby an athlete in this case however because he's good enough for nearly all. I have a hunch that you will be seeing an awful lot of this young man on the offensive side of the ball.

QB

Joe Ganz

6-2/190/4.70

 

The Skinny:  "He is a little different than Beau, in his ability to work on the run and his ability to create. This is a guy who played defense and he understands football, schemes, and angles. He has all the intangibles you look for in a quarterback. He is a winner with a solid character and he is intent on being a quarterback here. I believe in this guy and he has great feet and a good arm. His overall demeanor and temperament is what we look for at Nebraska. He has great pocket mobility."

FILM: Joe is an intriguing prospect because he isn't physically terribly far off from where I would expect him to be as far as weight. Joe will likely add another 10 to 15 lbs. before it's all said and done. Joe's style of play is indicative of his personality. It's very blue collar. He's not a finesse guy though he has the capability of dropping in a nice touch pass if needed. He can move, has a decent arm and for an option QB, shows some remarkable poise in being able to see the play down field. In fact, if this were the Nebraska offense of old, I would say that Nebraska got themselves a gem. How he works in a system that will be decidedly different, we'll see, but Joe's great benefit is that he's close enough in the mold of old NU option QBs, that he won't be restricted to just a QB should he not make the two deep in the next year or so.

OL

Andrew Christensen

6-3/275/4.98

The Skinny:"He has tremendous upside and he is exactly what you look for when you are looking for an offensive lineman. He has the effort and the strength you look for in this type of player. He is what you are looking for up front."
FILM: I have to admit that I had to get out of the mind-set that I was looking at a guy that would be playing in an option offense. It's not like Andrew wouldn't still be asked to run-block, but certain things regarding technique in that area obviously become more important. The definite up-side to Christensen is this young man knows how to finish off a block. He's definitely not a "point of impact" guy that can beat one, but can't get down the field to another. Andrew doesn't stop until that whistle blows and if the running back is heading down-field, chances are Christensen isn't far behind. His pass-blocking is not bad overall. His quickness off the ball allows him to get up and his pads square fairly quickly and that's big, but as you might expect, his technique will need a slight overhaul for the type of offense he'll be part of next season. Andrew should project nicely as a guard and he's got the potential to be a solid contributor on the two-deep, if not as a starter one day.

DE

Adam Blankenship

6-3/230/4.70

The Skinny:"He played the defensive end on the right and the left. He is a very instinctive player. A player in my opinion, who can dominate the point of attack and that is outstanding. He can chase and retrace as well as any player I have seen on the defensive line. He is player who jumps out because he finishes out plays, very productive in every sense."
FILM: As the son of a coach, especially the head coach of a program like Union high school in Tulsa, you expect Adam to be fundamentally sound. He doesn't disappoint. Adam is probably about as sound in that area at the position as you are going to see from most prospects around. What I like the most about what this young man does is actually what he doesn't do. So many defensive ends have a nasty habit of getting caught up with the guy in front of them, they lose sight of where they are supposed to be. Not Blankenship. He utilizes some good quickness of the ball and some solid techniques to get around his guy as quickly as possible. He just doesn't get caught up in trying to beat his guy physically. He gets around him or goes through him as quickly as possible and tries to make a play. Another solid trait of his is to be able to read the play as he is rushing up the field. That sounds easy, but when you are being engaged by someone taller, bigger and probably stronger than you, it's easy to lose focus of the ball. Blankenship shows a fine ability to be able to read the play regardless of what's happening at the line of scrimmage. Adam needs a little more size and maybe is lateral speed could use some improving, but he's got a solid foundation to build on.

OL

Lydon Murtha

6-8/320/5.02

The Skinny: "This guy is all about quality, who is an offensive lineman with all the tools to be outstanding at his position. He has the size that you look for in the National Football League. He has the talent to become outstanding in every respect. He not only has great size, but he has great athleticism and great foot speed. His strength and power is something we want to work with."
FILM: Believe it or not, there's actually a downside to being the biggest man on the field. If you are on the offensive line, especially. High school kids even with great coaching, when they enjoy that kind of advantage in size over the opponent, they get into the habit of being bull-rush types, point of impact types and players that have become used to swallowing their opponents up rather than blocking them. There's no doubt that with Murtha, you have all the basics of what could be a great lineman. He has good feet, is quick off the ball and his size certainly doesn't hurt. His pass-blocking will probably develop quicker than his run-blocking for Callahan and company, but he'll have to break some habits from being that kind of player that was just so used to physically dominating his opponent, his technique suffered in the end. Murtha can finish off blocks very well, but wasn't super efficient at getting off that one and moving on to the next guy. Also, he did tend to try and push his guys rather than block them, again, indicative of having that size advantage in high school. Murtha projects as a starter just based on physical potential, but probably not this year.

 WR

Nathan Swift

6-3/185/4.40

The Skinny : "He has good hands and good ball skills. He has the chance to develop into a fine receiver. I really like the way he works his route and the way he comes out of breaks."
FILM: The expectations behind Swift are probably not high by most Husker fans. The lack of a ton of offers has people expecting Swift to be a good athlete, but probably not a huge factor. I would disagree simply based on what Nathan's numbers don't show and that is how smart he plays the game. When you aren't the burner everyone else is, aren't the physical specimen that it takes to create separation just using that part of your game, you improvise. It's not to say Swift isn't a good athlete because he is, but Nathan brings the intangibles to the game like out-smarting the other guy rather than just flat out beating him. He runs solid routes, has good hands, is decent in the open-field, but he makes the most out of his opportunities. Swift will probably never go down as a huge playmaker type, but he'll be able to make plays here and there and defenses won't be able to ignore him. That should make him an effective weapon for NU.

LB

Michael Keenan

6-2.5/221/4.40

The Skinny: "He is a linebacker, who is a two-way player. He exhibits a lot of diversity and could play as a big back on offense. He projects himself well on the defensive side of the ball."
FILM: The first time I saw this young man's film, I thought that at the linebacker position, this kid could make some noise. He's got speed, quickness and a generous amount of "ballhawk" to him. Not easy to block and keep blocked, Keenan is my diamond in the ruff of the class. From what I have seen, he's the sheer physical ability to be a threat, but seems to have the intangibles as well. I expect that he could be used some on offense as he rushed for almost 2,000 yards his senior year, but Keenan should be entertaining to watch on the other side and I would guess we'll see him sooner rather than later.

LB

Lance Brandenburgh

6-1/215/4.62

The Skinny:"He is a linebacker who exhibits excellent ability to diagnose an offensive scheme. He is very impressive as you watch him play the game. He has solid run fits, run entry; the ability to take out blockers. His ability to run through gaps is very good. He has great definition to his technique and chases the ball carrier. He has great demeanor and will fit into our style of defense."
FILM: This guy strings together 20-tackle games like you and I breath. As a prep, Lance was the illustration of the phrase "constantly around the ball". He's smart, takes good angles, makes good decisions in reading plays at the line of scrimmage and has fair to good pursuit speed. Lance isn't probably the most physically gifted kid out there, but he makes up for that by how he plays the game. You'll have to beat him because he rarely beats himself.

DE

Ty Steinkuhler

6-3.5/233/- 

The Skinny: "He is excellent in every respect in running to the ball. He has great size, and what really impresses me is his toughness to run from side to side. I really like the potential of this young man. He fits what we are looking for and to have him play the defensive end or rush end in our system will be a bonus that would add to the dimension of our pass rush."
FILM: Out of the mold of his father, this Steinkuhler is a warrior just like dear old dad. First thing I heard about Ty before I ever saw a lick of film was that the play had to stop before he ever did. His motor was always going. That definitely showed up on film as Ty proved tenacious at the point of attack and getting to that point as well. He needs a little work fighting off blocks, which is something he'll be doing a lot of at the rush end position. That position does fit Ty to a tee though as he doesn't have the speed needed to play LB, but is good enough at reading plays at the line of scrimmage, if he can improve being able to get off blocks, he should be at the very least an effective force in running situations.

OL

Mike Huff

6-6/305/- 

The Skinny:"He is from Ralston, and falls into the great line of tradition offensive lineman. He is a blue-collar type who is extremely tough. All he does is grind, he finishes you. His tenacity is phenomenal. He goes hard throughout the whole game. He possesses tremendous athletic ability for being a big man."
FILM: Mike is a snot-blower and I say that in the most complimentary of ways. A down and dirty smashmouth style player that basically lines up and dares you to beat him. What I liked most about Mike initially from his film was from what I saw, he had very good pad-level at the point of impact which isn't necessarily rare for someone his height, but let's just say it's refreshing to see a guy of his stature be able to keep his pads down against players that are almost always smaller than him. Mike showed a little propensity to get caught up in his blocks, not releasing and heading down the field at all times, but other times, he was quite good at doing just that. There's nothing about Mike that says he can't get on the field for the Huskers as at least part of the two-deep. This year? Probably not, but I expect Huff to be a part of that pipeline in the near future, at least as a second string guy.

TE

Clayton Sievers

6-4/220/4.75

The Skinny:  "He is a tight end from Elhkorn, Neb. He has played numerous positions and has the ability to plug in as a h-back in our system. He can play variety of roles in that respect either as a fullback or an on the line at tight end. His future is unlimited in terms of his talent. He does provide us with great speed and physicalness."
FILM: How you look at Clayton really depends on what position he is slated to play. As a TE, it's all good for this Elkhorn standout. A couple things that really stood out to me about him were his feet and his intelligence on the field. You hear about a running back's ability to change direction quickly and turn the play up-field. For someone Siever's size, that's harder, but Clayton has no problem making it look easy as he can be facing the QB running away from the throw, catch the ball and in an instant, he's turned forward, body squared going towards the end zone. To me, that's just pretty darn impressive how easy he makes that look. Also, his ability to read the field, read coverages and run good routes for a tight end. I have to admit that I was surprised how good Clayton looked on film. He should be a solid contributor and if he's given a shot at fullback, look the heck out. This kind of versatility at that position is priceless.

OL

Danny Muy

6-3/275/5.10

The Skinny: "This is a player I really like who played the left tackle position in a tremendous high school program. He is an excellent lineman, who we think he has flexibility where we could maybe move him inside to guard spot or the center. He has quick feet and he has really played for an advanced coach and system."
FILM: Playing for Lincoln high school in Tallahassee, Florida, you expect Muy to be well coached. He is. In fact, the coaching is so good with the Trojans, they can make good players look even better than they are. I don't think that's the case with Danny though as fundamentally, he has it all, but he's got that little thing I like to call "anger" built into his game quite nicely. Danny is very physical at the point of attack, knows how to finish blocks off well, is quick off the ball and has pretty darn good feet. As you would expect, Muy will end up playing guard, but that should be an easy adjustment for him. All Muy needs is time to get physically to the point where he can compete at this level effectively and after that, his name should be permanently affixed the two-deep if not at starter.

QB

Beau Davis

6-4/180/4.65

The Skinny: "He is a highly productive player who has thrown up some outstanding numbers in the last year. He threw for 40 touchdowns and he had a 65 percent completion rate. He only threw 10 picks and that is a real compliment to him and the system that he has played in. He has a variety arm. He can make all the throws. He has the stature and size to see over defenses and he can see down the field."
FILM: I would characterize Davis as a true "gunslinger". A side-arm delivery, a quick release, with only a slight lack in that true cannon-like arm strength to finish the entire picture. Beau does have decent arm strength, but his accuracy and release are signatures of his effectiveness, plus he's got some nice touch to go with that as well. Just to look at him on film, you would think Davis could develop into a nice QB. Much of that though will depend on his physical development first. He's woefully undersized, so much so that it could be two years before he's ready to hit the field as a threat to be a full-time starter. If he does get there though, the platform Davis has to build on right now could make him a serious factor for at least a spot in the top two.

OL

Cornelius Thomas

6-6/310/- 

The Skinny: "He is a junior-college offensive tackle. What impressed us the most was his ability to play the left tackle position and that is rare. Those skills are hard to fine. To have a player of his caliber in that position is huge. It is huge that he can step in and provide some protection."
FILM: As with most junior college kids, when you recruit them, you do it in the hopes that they can hit the field right away. With Thomas, that should be realized as physically, he's ready to compete right now. His style of game is pretty straight forward, physical, punishing and he is pretty good at finishing off his blocks. The actual block though, that's where he excels. You have heard about guys that once they get their hands on you it's pretty much over. Well, with Thomas, you are probably going to get a lot of that. He's very good at driving his man backwards, but using his hands as well. Using leverage, getting off the point of impact and getting downfield. It's unclear just how good he is at pulling effectively, but with the physical foundation he has and the tenacity in which he plays, Thomas should be able to acclimate quickly.

Ath

Santino Panico

6-1/205/4.50

The Skinny: "We deem as him as having the athletic ability to play a lot of different positions. He lends a lot of flexibility to his game predicated on the success he had in high school. I project him to blend him and provide a lot of quality at a lot of different positions. He could impact us on special teams, in the backfield and in the offense. It will be exciting to watch his development over the years."
FILM: You want the definition of an overachiever? Here he is. Santino is a kid that has some solid athleticism, is physically well built, but everything about this young man's style of play and what he ends up doing on the field says that what he is, is actually more than the sum of his parts. Santino will be that guy they say isn't the fastest out there, isn't the biggest out there and certainly isn't the strongest, but you would dare someone to find another with more grit and determination. That's how Panico plays. Down, dirty, blue collar to the bone and if you tell him he can't do it, he'll die trying to prove you wrong. No, he's not going to wow you with physical attributes seemingly bestowed on those that are deemed as "gifted", but Panico will give you everything he has on every single play and some of those "stars" can't say that. Panico probably won't go down as an All-American or maybe even All-Conference, but if there is an All-Effort team, you can make this kid the captain right now.

RB

Brandon Jackson

6-1/205/4.43

The Skinny: "This is the big back that we were looking for. He has completeness to his game and that appeals to us as a staff. He can run physically between the tackles and has excellent ball running skills. He gives a coach a lot of flexibility; you can utilize him in a lot of different positions. He has a physical finish to the way he finishes games."
FILM: Ok, I am going to try and not get too excited about this young man. Why do I say that? Look at his film. I am not saying that in justifying not getting excited about him, rather in trying like crazy to temper my enthusiasm as a Husker fan. This kid has almost everything in the book. I'm not so sure he's quite the burner that he's listed as, but he's still pretty darn fast. For a young man his size, the biggest thing that struck me was how he was able to keep his pad level so low. Brandon made it infuriatingly hard to get a bead on him, but even when you did, you better bring your friends if you want to take him down. I don't think Jackson is the 220 he is being reported, but he will definitely fit that 'big back' mold. I'm not sure whether it was grades or what that kept this young man off the map, but at Nebraska, he will find his way back on it very quickly. There's no reason to expect that Jackson can't make a serious stab at playing his first year in Lincoln.

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