2013 Spring Preview: Defensive Backs

RETURNING | CBs: Daniel Davie, Soph.; Ciante Evans, Sr.; Joey Felici, Jr.; Derek Foster, Jr.; Andrew Green, Sr.; Charles Jackson, Soph.; Seth Jameson, Sr.; Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Sr.; Josh Mitchell, Jr.; Anthony Ridder, Soph.; Jonathan Rose, Soph.; Mohammed Seisay, Sr.; Yusef Wade, Jr.; DB: LeRoy Alexander, RFr.; Austin Williams, Jr. S: Corey Cooper, Jr.; Harvey Jackson, Jr.; Wil Richards, Sr.

INCOMING | DBs: Nathan Gerry, Fr.; Boaz Joseph, Fr.; Drake Martinez, Fr.; D.J. Singleton*, Fr.; Zach Stovall, Fr.

* early enrollee

DEPARTING | Justin Blatchford, Jase Dean, Courtney Osborne, P.J. Smith, Daimion Stafford

OUTLOOK: Nebraska’s secondary in 2013 is best viewed in halves. The Huskers return essentially all of their cornerbacks from the last year, as well as a couple of de facto additions that are intriguing, but will need to replace both starting safeties.

Let’s start at corner. Ciante Evans, an all-Big Ten level player, has a strong hold on the nickel spot but the other corner spots should be very interesting this spring. Andrew Green and Josh Mitchell took the bulk of the snaps as starters but they’ll likely have to fight for those spots over the next six months. Mohammed Seisay was slowed for most of 2012 by injury but he’s a big, athletic corner who was brought in from the JUCO ranks to play right away. Jonathan Rose, a highly touted recruit who transferred to Nebraska after one year at Auburn, has drawn raves from the people who watch practices. Throw in former wide receiver Stanley Jean-Baptiste, who saw significant snaps in certain situations last season, and Nebraska has an experienced and versatile corps of corners to choose from in 2013. The competition at that spot should be intense this spring.

Sophomore Charles Jackson backed up Evans at nickel in 2012 but it looks like he’ll start out at safety this year. He’s one of many wildcards at that position. Juniors Harvey Jackson and Corey Cooper have the most experience though Cooper was used primarily as a dime back last season. It’s hard to make up for experience in Nebraska’s scheme but newcomer D.J.Singleton will try. The freshman enrolled at Nebraska in January giving him a leg up on the rest of the newcomers in 2013. Watching Singleton’s play at safety will likely be one of the big points of intrigue at the spring game.

The Huskers will welcome three scholarship freshmen into the fold in the fall. Of those, only Boaz Jospeh seems more likely to start out at corner rather than safety. Nathan Gerry might be a steal coming out of South Dakota and Drake Martinez, Taylor’s brother, has the same enticing blend of speed and athleticism. Either could possibly make an impact on the depth chart in the fall.

Nebraska’s safety play is an important part of its run defense. The Huskers have the numbers to get pretty specialized when it comes to nickel and dime sets in 2013 but for the safety position overall, the players that prove to be the best tacklers will likely have the edge.