Nebraska lost two of the most significant pieces of its 2018 offense in 1,000-yard rusher Devine Ozigbo and the school’s first 1,000-yard receiver, Stanley Morgan Jr. However, after signing a class heavy on skill players, Scott Frost may very well be able to get that output in other ways.
While defensive recruiting additions weren’t ideal, positive steps were taken to upgrade the 2019 Blackshirts. Frost has made no bones about the best players getting on the field and these five have as good a chance as any including some sneaky sleeper picks.
Luke McCaffrey, QB
McCaffrey’s career arc as a Husker should be intriguing to watch, but the fun starts at the quarterback position this spring. He’s already garnered heavy praise from Scott Frost as someone leading the offensive newbies' charge. There are two other scholarship signal-callers and last season’s second-stringer (walk-on Andrew Bunch) on the roster. Be sure to keep an eye on how McCaffrey navigates that minefield.
Wandale Robinson, RB/WR
Try not to watch the dynamic — and arguably best — recruit from the 2019 class. It’s extremely difficult to simply replace the offensive impact of someone like Stanley Morgan Jr. However, while Robinson will be attacking defenses from a different position, he has the chance to contribute just as much to the offense in a number of ways. Seeing him on a return unit or two would be far from a surprise.
Jackson Hannah, LB
Hannah is most definitely a candidate for immediate playing time as a frequently-used reserve at the very least. His ability to hold down the fort at both inside and outside linebacker positions makes him a hidden gem in the 2019 class. He already possesses the physicality to compete in the Big Ten and skipping a redshirt season could be in the cards.
Garrett Nelson, LB
Nelson is a true Husker throwback that the locals should love. The linebacker from Scottsbluff has taken to strength and conditioning coach Zach Duval’s program like a fish to water. It’ll be interesting to see just how much of an impact — both literal and figurative — he can have on the field in 2019. Fans should feel confident that his animalistic tendencies land him a spot on special teams units if not a linebacker rotation.
Bryce Benhart, OT
Already a mammoth addition to the roster at every inch of 6-foot-9 and weighing in around 290 pounds, Benhart’s longest wait to become a starter might only last one year, at most. When Desmond Bland didn’t sign with the Huskers, it set in motion a projection that saw Benhart stepping into the starting right tackle role as a true freshman if Nebraska chose to move Matt Farniok inside. However, thanks to the offseason dedication of senior Christian Gaylord, the Huskers are no longer forced to make that hasty decision. Benhart no doubt gets in four games' worth of experience during this upcoming season and starting opposite Brendan Jaimes in 2020 seems a safe bet even today.
— Written by Brandon Cavanaugh, FWAA member and part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Be sure to follow him on Twitter (@eightlaces). To contact him with tips, story ideas or for interview purposes, click here.