61 OG Spencer Long (6’4″ 315 pounds, SENIOR)
Offensive linemen don’t usually get this many awards or accolades:
- Second-Team All-American (AP, Walter Camp Foundation, 2012)
- Third-Team All-American (Phil Steele, 2012)
- First-Team All-Big Ten (Coaches, Media, BTN, CBS, ESPN, Phil Steele, 2012)
- Burlsworth Trophy Semifinalist (1 of 10, 2012)
- Outland Trophy Watch List (1 of 71, 2012)
- Rotary Lombardi Award Wach List (2012)
- Preseason First-Team All-Big Ten (Phil Steele, Athlon, 2012)
- Second-Team All-Big Ten (Media, Phil Steele, 2011)
- Honorable-Mention All-Big Ten (Coaches, 2011)
- Two-Time CoSIDA Academic All-District VII (2011, 2012)
- Big Ten Distinguished Scholar (2013)
- Two-Time Academic All-Big Ten (2011, 2012)
- Nebraska Walk-on of the Year (2011)
- Nebraska Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll (Fall 2011, 2012; Spring, 2012, 2013)
- Big 12 Commissioner’s Fall Academic Honor Roll (2009, 2010)
Big 12 Commissioner’s Spring Academic Honor Roll (2010, 2011)
Long is a former walk-on with the Nebraska football program who hasn’t done anything except for develop into possibly the best interior offensive lineman in the conference, and he has a chance to be the first guard selected in the 2014 NFL Draft. It’s pretty amazing when you see a guy who was an All-Conference performer before he was even given a scholarship. Long wasn’t awarded a scholarship for the Nebraska football team until just before last season, and then he went out an earned it. This is a player with a really good frame for the interior offensive line. He is tough, nasty, aggressive, and he plays with a chip on his shoulder, but he doesn’t sacrifice technique or what he’s worked on in practice to do so. Not the greatest athlete in the world, and plays a little stiff at times, but should easily be one of the top interior linemen in his class.
80 WR Kenny Bell (6’1″ 185 pounds, JUNIOR)
Kenny Bell has quietly put together two excellent seasons for Nebraska, and has developed into one of the more well-rounded players at the WR position in the Big Ten. He plays bigger than his size, especially in the blocking department, and is pretty good at making things happen after the catch. Bell might be best known for his epic afro hair-do and his block in the 2012 Big Ten championship game against Wisconsin, but he has also put together a nice resume’ over the first two years of his collegiate career. As a sophomore, he set personal bests with 50 catches for 863 yards and eight touchdowns, averaging about 17.3 yards per reception. Despite his wiry sort of frame, Bell is a really tough receiver who runs good routes and plays with a physicality that is almost unmatched for some receivers you’ll see. His ability to block and willingness to block probably play a big part in his toughness after the catch, and his willingness to take big hits and go over the middle. He’s found a way to be as productive as he is in an offense that is completely run oriented, so Bell knows how to make the most of his opportunities and drive defenses crazy with his all-around game. I think he’s a solid underclassmen prospect right now who has potential to be a special teams ace and backup receiver in the NFL.
3 QB/ATH Taylor Martinez (6’1″ 200 pounds, SENIOR)
Martinez has proven over the course of his Nebraska career that he is fast enough and athletic enough to play another position in the NFL, because right now scouts don’t really view him as a full-time quarterback. He’s actually in a pretty similar boat to that of Denard Robinson a year ago, and Martinez hasn’t been that electric or productive, but he should get a shot in an NFL camp. He has good speed and an ability to make plays with his legs, as evidenced by his first 1,000 yard season last year at 1,019 yards. He has rushed for 31 touchdowns in three seasons, and despite the amount of sacks he takes, still manages to have a really solid yard per carry average and yardage total. In all reality, he’s probably actually rushed for over 1,000 yards in each of his first three seasons at Nebraska despite what the numbers say, because sacks count as lost yardage in college football. I think Martinez has a chance to wow some people at the scouting combine and earn a position in the NFL as a RB or something of the like. Denard Robinson is called an “OW” or “offensive weapon” and Martinez could be as well.
8 RB Ameer Abdullah (5’9″ 185 pounds, JUNIOR)
Ameer Abdullah is one of the most exciting tailbacks in the Big Ten. He averaged just over five yards per carry in his sophomore season as Nebraska’s lead back, and led the team with 1,137 yards, adding eight touchdowns. He also showed some improvement as a receiver, catching 24 passes. The thing that I like the most about Abdullah is that despite his smaller size, he is not afraid to stick his head down and plow through the heart of a defense. He is a pretty tough runner for his size, and he has breakaway ability. Abdullah runs with really good balance and has great vision, which is absolutely a necessity with the style of offense the Huskers run. His size is a bit of an issue, being 5’9″ and less than 190 pounds. If he is able to bulk up while keeping his speed and quickness, he has a chance to handle a bigger workload at the NFL level, but he may be two more seasons away from that. Abdullah needs to put together the best resume’ he possibly can in college with his size to get a fair shot in the NFL. He’s not a track star, but he has good speed and probably his best asset his his ability to contribute in a variety of ways, including special teams. If he can get his weight up to about 195 pounds, he’ll be a very intriguing NFL prospect. He might be the best playmaker the Huskers have offensively.
18 WR Quincy Enunwa (6’2″ 225 pounds, SENIOR)
Enunwa is a big bodied target in the passing game who isn’t getting the attention he deserves because Nebraska’s offense is not meant to be a very pass-oriented attack. He caught 42 passes as a junior for 470 yards and a touchdown, and he has a chance to emerge as one of those size/speed freaks at the Combine or his pro day. He is also one of the team captains and a very good student-athlete. Good, physical blocker in the running game, mainly because he has to be. Definitely a player to keep an eye on.
17 CB Ciante Evans (5’11″ 185 pounds, SENIOR)
The returning leading tackler from last season with five seniors graduating, Evans is getting ready to assume a very large role on the Husker defense. One of the team captains and a great leader for the Blackshirts, Evans has potential to be a starter in the NFL if he puts together a good senior campaign. As a junior, he had 56 tackles, eight passes broken up, and an interception returned for a touchdown. He has potential to be a really good nickel cornerback at the next level, but has also proven he can play outside. Named a 2nd team All-conference performer by ESPN and CBS last season.
11 CB Andrew Green (6’0″ 195 pounds, SENIOR)
Green had a phenomenal sophomore breakout season with 48 tackles, eight passes broken up, and his first career interception but regressed a little bit as a junior. He’s not the greatest in run support, and is battling for a starting job going into his senior season. He does have a lot of starting experience, however, and has a great combination of size and speed for the position. He will be closely watched by scouts and based on his experience and athletic ability, he should definitely get a shot in the NFL.
16 CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste (6’3″ 220 pounds, SENIOR)
One of the most intriguing cornerback prospects in his class mainly because of his size, Jean-Baptiste made the switch from WR to CB in his sophomore season and had his first interception that same year. As a junior–his first full season as a CB–SJB had just 24 tackles but nine passes broken up and two more picks, one that was returned for a touchdown. His length, athleticism, and ball skills will entice a team to take a chance on him in the NFL. He is still really raw as a CB prospect, but his journey to the NFL will not be too dissimilar to that of Seahawks star CB Richard Sherman, formerly a WR at Stanford.