Last week we asked you to pick which player will lead Nebraska in rushing in 2017. Sophomore Tre Bryant sort of ran away with the race with 55 percent of the vote as of Tuesday, doubling up Devine Ozigbo (24 percent) and my (somewhat contrarian) pick Mikale Wilbon (21 percent).
This week we turn our attention to the receivers, where there seems to be a clear top pick, but things get interesting when you start consider what it would take for Stanley Morgan Jr. not to lead the Huskers in receiving. He is clearly the favorite here as Nebraska’s leading returning receiver (453 yards) from 2016. Every opponent knows that too, so you’ll have the test lab of a talented player with increased opportunities against increased attention from defenses.
That should open things up for the Huskers’ other proven playmaker at receiver, senior De’Mornay Pierson-El. He has yet to replicate the 321 receiving yards he posted as a true freshman, but he had an impressive spring and a solid bounce-back season after missing most of 2015 with multiple injuries.
The real wrinkle here is what happens in the slot. Jordan Westerkamp led the Huskers in receiving yards from that spot each of the past two years, mostly because he’s Westerkamp but partly because the slot gets a lot of opportunities, too. That gives you Keyan Williams (who falls in the “Other” category here), JD Spielman and probably Tyjon Lindsey (both in the “Freshman” group for poll purposes) as options in 2017. My guess: The slot position probably ranks second on the team at the end of the year, but those catches and yards are split up enough that no one receiver ranks in the top three.
From there you’ve got two live long shots in Gabe Rahn and Bryan Reimers (Other), one other freshman who will likely play (Jeavon McQuitty) and the whole-lotta-checkdowns play (a tight end or running back). That last one might seem like a remote possibility, but Marlon Lucky — Nebraska’s leading rusher and receiver (based on receptions) in 2007 — says hello.
Maybe this is residual from the days when I was really into horse racing, but I always like to try and beat the favorite so I think I’m going to take the “freshman” option and bank on one of those options in the slot sort of distancing himself (while also getting McQuitty as a bonus play). But don’t let my thinking influence you. Cast your own vote over on the main page.
The Grab Bag
- ICYMI: Greg Smith reported Monday afternoon that 2017 signee Elijah Blades is headed to Arizona Western. Also, Mike Babcock listed the top-10 all-time Huskers from Ohio.
- Interesting idea at Iowa, which is selling 500 mobile-only season tickets that will allow ticket holders to sit in different seats at each home game (but none of the other season-ticket-holder benefits).
- Tom Dienhart of BTN lists the top 25 games in the Big Ten this year.
- Nebraska commit Joshua Moore says he’s still listening to offers and plans to take official visits this fall. LSU is going particularly hard after the 4-star wide receiver.
- Here’s the info you need for Nebraska’s Fan Day on July 29.
Today’s Song of Today
Probably my favorite album cover of the year . . .
Brandon is the Managing Editor for Hail Varsity and has covered Nebraska athletics for the magazine and web since 2012, Hail Varsity’s first season on the scene. His sports writing has also been featured by Fox Sports, The Guardian and CBS Sports.