Scouting the Big 12: Nebraska

The Cornhuskers must respond from the thrashing they took in last season's National Championship game as well as recoup from the large losses suffered in graduation. They have seemingly slipped when it comes to putting pro-prospects into the draft recently (lowly Notre Dame had more players selected than NU last April) and offered only a pair of first day choices in April, a number they may be hard pressed to match in '03.

Nebraska Cornhuskers

NU is usually characterized by the mammoth linemen they offer the NFL come draft weekend, as well as running backs that come in large numbers.  That will not be the case this year.  John Garrison is an effective center but by no means a dominator in the middle.  His real value may lie as a long-snapper, which will get him late round looks.  Dahrran Diedrick is a nice sized interior runner with a powerful lower body that enables him to pick up a ton of yardage off initial contact.  He also shows adequate vision but is not fast and an awful receiver out of the backfield which will push him into the late rounds.  Unless he has a splendid senior campaign Thunder Collins is also a later round choice.  Collins is a lot faster then his teammate while also being a competent receiver out of the backfield.  Still, he must prove his worth as an every down feature back to be of any real value at the next level and with Diedrick on the team that is not going to happen this season.  They have a duo of pass catchers we like.  Wilson Thomas is a nice sized receiver that makes the difficult catch while also showing a good degree of downfield speed. Problem is he's not a natural wide out and does too much body catching or snaring the pass between his forearms as opposed to plucking it cleanly out of the air.  His route running is also suspect but has some upside potential.  The other to keep tabs on is tight end Aaron Golliday, someone we've watched closely since his sophomore campaign.  Though a better athlete then the recently departed Tracey Wistrom, Golliday's play seemingly slipped last year and he was not much of a factor in the offense.  When he puts his mind to it and keeps the intensity meter up high Golliday is a tight end that can block for both the run or pass and is also an effective receiver.  He could move up draft boards with a big senior campaign.   

Defensively Chad Kelsey is like many of his "Black Shirt" predecessors at the rush end position; athletic, fast but undersized.  Compared to many of the recent higher draft picks (Vanden Bosch, Wistrom) we do not feel Kelsey shows the same explosion or carry the high grades coming into his senior season and recent shoulder surgery will not help his cause. A lineman that has the explosion, and one we were happy to see receive a sixth year of eligibility, is tackle Jason Lohr.  Playing with a non-stop motor Lohr's "senior season" was cut short by injury last year but if he proves to be back to form this September he is a perfect player for the "three technique" at the next level and could go in the middle frames.   Linebacker Scott Shanle is a solid prospect on the outside.  He displays surprising speed and range against the pass and like many Cornhusker ‘backers, plays smart football.  Dejaun Groce could elevate his draft status with a good senior campaign but right now looks like a late round/nickel back-type.




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