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How the Yearbook Reads for Nebraska’s Class of 2016

Mike Riley

Mike Riley

Admit it, breaking out old yearbooks to see what you were (or weren’t) most likely chosen to excel at is always good for at least a chuckle. There’s no concrete information that every recruit in Nebraska’s class of 2016 had such candidacies, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be going into their freshman seasons without them.

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Most Likely to Start as a Freshman: WR Derrion Grim

With the status of speedster De'Mornay Pierson-El in question, Nebraska needs to find some dynamic return specialists to take his place.

As an early enrollee, Grim is getting the benefit of integrating into the Cornhuskers’ system faster than his peers. This may very well make him the front-runner for both return jobs come spring and he may even see some work in Mike Riley’s screen game.

Most Likely to Surprise on Offense: QB Patrick O’Brien

The battle between O’Brien and incumbent starter Tommy Armstrong is going to be a fierce one and while it officially starts when spring practice does, Armstrong must get used to O’Brien having his eye on the starting spot.

He has the talent to get it.

This is a battle that likely goes 12 rounds with a winner being declared approximately halfway through fall camp. The topic will no doubt bring out Twilight-esque followings as well.  

Most Likely to Surprise on Defense: LB Greg Simmons

As humble as he is hard-hitting, Simmons has an on-the-field attitude of Blackshirts past. As his highlights roll, there’s a notable comparison to former Cornhusker Carlos Polk, though Simmons appears a touch faster.

While it’s unlikely he breaks through for a starting job barring injury, it’s not outside the realm of possibility that this hungry defender finds time spelling others early on in his quest for a Blackshirt.

Most Likely to Overachieve: G John Raridon

Nobody should expect Raridon to come in and be a true freshman sensation. That said, he has every desired measurable and indication of a potential future wrecking machine.

Don’t be surprised if Raridon leaves Nebraska a high all-conference selection if not an All-American.

Most Likely to Switch Positions: ATH JoJo Domann

Riley has been singing the praises of Domann’s athleticism for months. It’s no shock that the head coach would rave about a player who could easily grow into a linebacker’s body but looks to start out at safety.

Despite how good Domann is at that position, a need for linebackers (whether for depth or scheme change) likely moves him closer to the defensive line as the talent in the secondary can afford to bring his abilities to the front seven.

Most Likely to Dominate YouTube: WR Derrion Grim

Everybody loves a player that can take a return to the house or break a big play in space and that’s Grim. Highlight videos of Pierson-El popped up quickly and while there may still be some in his future, the true freshman from Stockton, Calif., may just steal his spotlight.

— Written by Brandon Cavanaugh, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Be sure to follow Brandon on Twitter @eightlaces, Periscope (eightlaces) and like his Facebook page.