Photo by Aaron Babcock
Nebraska Football

Mailbag: Huskers in the NFL

May 2, 2017
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With the 2017 NFL draft come and gone, it's no surprise that a lot of this week's mailbag focuses on the Huskers in the NFL. From Nathan Gerry being drafted to Philadelphia to the free agents and where they signed, there was a lot to cover and we did our best to cover it all. Plus, we even spent some time hashing out all the best in-state prospects for each sport. Yes, it was a big week all-around.

Brandon Vogel, Jacob Padilla and Erin Sorensen answer your questions in this week's Hail Varsity mailbag.

Q: Were you surprised that Nathan Gerry was the only one drafted and which of the FA could have the most impact in their rookie year?

JP: Only slightly. If you paid attention to the pre-draft coverage most places, there weren’t many that were high on Huskers. Some had Gerry as a late round pick, some undrafted. There were a few individuals who thought Cethan Carter might get picked, but most places projected him to go undrafted. I don’t know if I saw any of the wide receivers, Terrell Newby or Kevin Maurice even mentioned anywhere. So the drafted ended up playing out about how a lot of prognosticators thought it would for the Huskers. As for your second question, Carter is the easy answer based on talent alone.

Q: Did the coaches ever consider moving Gerry to LB?

JP: Gerry started at linebacker when he arrived in Lincoln and then switched to safety, I believe, so the previous coaching staff at least tried it. Other than the transition year when Nebraska changed coaches, I’d say Gerry had a pretty solid career at safety and ended up getting drafted. It will be interesting to see exactly how Philadelphia uses him.

Q: How many NFL teams have Husker influence? Player, coach, or personnel. (Please take your time, it would be really interesting to know.)

ES: If this list (and my math) is to be trusted, there are 26 players across 17 teams. There are some players missing, like Kenny Bell with the Ravens, and it doesn’t include the recent draftees and free agent signees.

And then there’s the whole coaching world and the list below doesn’t include Zac Taylor. With that said, I think, like you said, that this question will really take time. With that said, I’ll leave this answer as it is for now and we can circle back once I’ve look into it more.

Q: What Huskers free agent signee has the best chance to stick in the league?

BV: I think Cethan Carter will definitely stick in Cincinnati. I don’t know if it’ll be in Buffalo, but I also think Brandon Reilly has a pretty good chance to play a couple of years.

ES: I also like Josh Banderas’ chances in Denver, or wherever if the Broncos don’t work out. His long snapping abilities along with being a linebacker will add value to a team. Beyond that, I agree with Brandon. Carter and Reilly are your two strongest candidates.

Q: If Nebraska football, baseball, volleyball, basketball, bowling, soccer and rifle were beverages, what would they be?

ES: This is a difficult question, and I’m going to make it a little easier by limited myself to Pepsi products. As the official drink of Nebraska athletics, I figure I’ll stick on brand here:

  • Football: I’ll go with regular Pepsi. It’s the original and king of the brand.
  • Volleyball: Gatorade, because I feel like Gatorade is for champions and the volleyball team is the definition of champions. If we’re talking sand volleyball though, I’ll go Ocean Spray. Because, obviously.
  • Basketball: Crystal Pepsi. It was solid in the early 1990s, and you always think it’s better than it really is until you try it again and you’re disappointed.
  • Bowling: Mountain Dew, because champions don’t sleep.
  • Soccer: This one was harder than I thought because I was looking for something that screamed “fun.” That’s what I think of when I think Nebraska soccer. Maybe Izze? Sierra Mist? Whatever it is, it needs to be as fun and outgoing as these women.
  • Rifle: Mug Root Beer. I don’t know why. It just feels like if I’m going to go shoot rifle, a root beer would fit the bill.

Q: Overall what impact would this year’s recruiting class have for this year’s football team?

BV: Aside from the players already on campus, I think wide receiver Tyjon Lindsey absolutely has a role this season and has the potential to be a player a lot of Husker fans like. Kurt Rafdal probably jumps a few players on the depth chart and contributes at tight end. Deiontae Watts, based on his size, might have a shot at seeing some snaps at defensive tackle depending upon how things shake out up front, and I could also see defensive end Guy Thomas making the redshirt decision difficult if Nebraska wanted to try him as that boundary outside linebacker (a position that seems very much up for grabs at the moment).

Q: I'm 41 and have had 2 back surgeries. If I guaranteed HCMR I would never miss an extra point, would he let me walk on?

BV: I think you’ll have to bring more to the table than perfect extra points. Over the last four years, Nebraska has missed five extra points. If the Huskers had you over that stretch, it only would’ve added five points to the Huskers’ four-year total. Mike Riley doesn’t get out of bed for 1.25 points a year. Now if you could guarantee you’d be perfect on field goals from inside, say, 45 yards, that might start a conversation.

Q: With all of the success Janovich had at fullback his senior year, we didn't see the fullback used much last season. Will McNitt and Miles see a bigger role this season?

JP: I liked my answer in last week’s mailbag. I feel like I nailed it, if I do say so myself.

BV: Jacob took my answer.

Q: Which coach do you think would take a casual game the most seriously against their players? Any game… bowling, pickup basketball, checkers, etc.

JP: John Cook. That dude is competitive. Also, pre-order Brandon’s book.

BV: I agree with Jacob on all counts. And here’s a link.
 
Q: Recruiting is all the rage right now. Who are best in-state prospects, any sport? Huskers have interest in any?

JP: Nebraska actually has a handful of local players already committed in a few different sports.

Women’s Basketball: Amy Williams has 2017 top-100 recruit Taylor Kissinger coming in from Minden next season.

Track: 2017 athlete Cody Mroczek is committed to the Huskers.

Volleyball: Nebraska has 2017 Malcolm defensive specialist Hayley Densbegrer already signed.

Baseball: Kyle Perry and Drew Gilin (Millard South) and Colby Gomes (Millard West) are 2018 commits.

Men’s Basketball: Nebraska has Elkhorn South’s Justin Costello coming in as a preferred walk-on next season, and in 2018, the Huskers have offered and continue to recruit Papillion-La Vista forward Ed Chang. The staff is also doing its due diligence on 6-foot-11 Platteview center Brady Heiman (as are the other two local programs among others).

Football: We’ve covered the 2017 signees, both scholarship and walk-on (including the newest member of the class, Christian Banker) in pretty good depth already, so I’ll look ahead. In 2018, they obviously have Beatrice tight end Cameron Jurgens and York defensive tackle Masry Mapieu committed. Elkhorn South running back/defensive back Moses Bryant is likely next on their list in that class. One 2019 name to keep an eye on is 2019 Omaha Burke tight end/wide receiver Chris Hickman. He already has Division I offers and is continuing to pick up interest.
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