Nebraska dropped its first depth chart of 2018 early Sunday morning and there are some interesting nuggets spread throughout.
— Derek Peterson (@DrPeteyHV) August 26, 2018
For starters, true freshman quarterback Adrian Martinez has won the starting job in easily the most talked about position battle of the entire offseason. Martinez is listed as the one with redshirt freshman Tristan Gebbia listed as the backup. He'll become the first true freshman quarterback to start a season-opener in Nebraska program history.
Moving one spot down the depth chart, there's an "OR" at the starting running back position, but it's not who most fans would have expected to see. Junior college transfer Greg Bell sits at the top, a surprise to no one after Bell was the talk of the town in the spring and had a consistent fall camp, but after him is senior Devine Ozigbo and not true freshman Maurice Washington.
Washington was a late addition in the fall and a shock to the fanbase when it was announced he was eligible to play right away. Within the first two weeks, Washington's stock soared with praise from linebackers to head coach Scott Frost himself.
Instead, it's Ozigbo who occupies the other starting spot in the Huskers' backfield with Bell. Ozigbo has been praised just the same this fall for transforming his body and becoming a more polished back.
Freshman Miles Jones is also listed as an "OR" at the No. 2 running back spot alongside Washington.
On defense, the biggest surprise is senior Aaron Williams being listed as the No. 3 safety behind junior college transfer Deontai Williams and senior Antonio Reed (co-No. 1s). Williams has dealt with nagging injuries since the end of the 2017 season.
Other depth chart notes:
- There are 12 redshirt/true freshmen throughout the Huskers' first depth chart and 32 upperclassmen.
- Neither Cameron Jurgens nor Katerian Legrone made the top three at tight end. Sophomore Jack Stoll won the job with redshirt freshmen Austin Allen and Kurt Rafdal getting the "OR" treatment for his backup.
- Freshman wideout Andre Hunt made the two-deep while redshirt freshman Jaevon McQuitty did not. McQuitty lost his freshman season last year to a knee injury. Bryan Reimers, who was recently put on scholarship, is listed as a co-No. 2 wideout with junior college transfer Jaron Woodyard.
- There is a newcomer listed at 10 different positions on the depth chart, including six on defense. Every position in the Husker secondary has a newcomer on the depth chart.
- Cornerback Cam Taylor will begin his Husker career backing up sophomore Dicaprio Bootle. Taylor saw plenty of hype in the fall after switching from a high school quarterback but Bootle ultimately won the job. Bootle was a bright spot in an otherwise dismal secondary last season and he'll start opposite junior Lamar Jackson.
- There was plenty of speculation over who the fourth corner would be alongside Jackson, Bootle and Taylor. Freshman Braxton Clark wins that role over guys like Eric Lee Jr. and Ethan Cox.
- Tre Neal, a graduate transfer from Central Florida, won the second safety spot outright. He'll be backed up by either JoJo Domann or Marquel Dismuke.
- Both inside linebacker spots have an "OR" designation with the top two guys. Mohamed Barry and Dedrick Young II are listed along with Collin Miller and Will Honas.
- At ouside linebacker, freshman Caleb Tannor will serve as senior Luke Gifford's backup while junior Alex Davis will backup junior Tyrin Ferguson. Ole Miss transfer Breon Dixon didn't crack the two-deep.
- The top three kick returners are (in order): JD Spielman, Jaron Woodyard and Maurice Washington.
- The top three punt returners are (in order): Tyjon Lindsey, JD Spielman and Stanley Morgan Jr.
- Every member of the two-deep on the offensive and defensive lines are holdovers. Redshirt freshman Hunter Miller is listed as the backup at center instead of freshman Will Farniok while senior Peyton Newell and sophomore Damion Daniels grab the co-No. 2 defensive tackle spot over Utah grad transfer Vaha Vainuku.
Derek is a newbie on the Hail Varsity staff covering Husker athletics. In college, he was best known as ‘that guy from Twitter.’ He has covered a Sugar Bowl, a tennis national championship and almost everything in between (except an NCAA men’s basketball tournament game… *tears*). In his spare time, he can be found arguing with literally anyone about sports.