With spring ball in the rearview mirror, Nebraska rolls into the summer having answered some questions over the course of its 15 spring practices and with some still remaining.
Where does each position stand heading into the summer? The Journal Star is looking at one a day.
The series continues through NU's offense today with the running backs.
Today: Running backs
Wednesday: Wide receivers
Thursday: Tight ends
Friday: Offensive line
Saturday: Offensive depth chart projection
What we learned
We learned that USC transfer Markese Stepp arrived on campus with a pre-existing injury that required left foot surgery and cost him most of spring. We learned more about the name Jaquez Yant, the freshman walk-on who turned heads at 6-foot-2 and 245 pounds. Ronald Thompkins, who has battled injuries, entered the transfer portal Wednesday.
What we didn’t
Who is going to start, who is going to fill out the rotation or, for that matter, really anything solid about how the backfield is going to shape up this fall. Several players missed at least a practice or two, and Rahmir Johnson missed most or all of the spring work. The rest of the group has talent but hardly any collective collegiate experience. This is as wide-open a race as there is on the roster. That might be even truer today than it was at the beginning of spring ball.
Freshman Gabe Ervin. A bunch of the young backs had their moment this spring, but Ervin consistently impressed the staff from the day he arrived on campus from Buford, Georgia, in January. At 6-foot and 200 pounds, Ervin has the size to be a three-down back. Can he be that right off the bat? Time will tell, but the sentiment coming out of spring is that the freshman will have some kind of role come August.
Yant put his best foot forward this spring, too. The walk-on from Tallahassee, Florida is big and strong and showed pretty good wheels. Can he keep his spot in the pecking order when NU’s other big back, Stepp, gets healthy (assuming that happens this summer as Frost outlined timewise)? That’s another question. But "Jaq" certainly earned himself a good, long look in preseason camp with a productive spring.
Summer to-do list
Held said he needs the group to take a “Rocky IV” mentality. Frost said he wants a lead dog to emerge from the pack. Marvin Scott said he wants to focus on his breakaway speed. Everybody has their list. No decisions are going to be made before camp, but it’s fair to say jobs will be won in part by what the guys in the group accomplish this summer.
— Parker Gabriel
Spring post-op: Catch up on our position-by-position look at where the Huskers stand after spring
What did we learn from the Huskers' spring? What about the things we still need to find out? Plus, a look at "stock-risers" and more.
Luke Reimer, Chris Kolarevic and Nick Henrich are a strong trio at the top. But this is the Big Ten. Who can be the fourth man? The fifth?
You followed along all spring. Who's your standout player from the outside linebacker group? How about the "stock-riser?" Compare notes with us.
Defensive line coach Tony Tuioti said he has at least six players he can trust and potentially seven, but it’s unclear if any of NU’s next wave of players will crack the rotation this fall.
Cam Taylor-Britt has ascended into a face-of-the-program type player and perhaps the best player on the roster. But is there enough depth?
NU's safeties benefited from the extra year of eligibility, as Marquel Dismuke and Deontai Williams both return for sixth seasons.