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Thoughts & predictions for Nebraska Football running backs post spring



Nebraska football
Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

We continue to analyze each position group post-spring ball for Nebraska football and here are some thoughts, plus predictions for running back.

Spring practices wrapped up a couple of weeks ago for Nebraska football and while we have been slacking a little on our post-spring predictions/position breakdowns, we are getting back in the saddle with running back.

Of course, the biggest news this spring for Nebraska football at running back is the departure of Ajay Allen, who went to Miami after entering the transfer portal.

As I said at the time, I don’t know that it dramatically impacts my thoughts on the 2023 Nebraska football team. However, I did view Allen as a future starter and the most dynamic back of the bunch, so it hurts.

There is still plenty of depth and talent available. Nebraska football is going to run the football and I think we are going to see possibly three guys get close to 100 carries this season. We will see at least two but I feel like Rahmir Johnson is going to have an expanded role, especially now that Allen isn’t in the mix.

Johnson was criminally underused by the coaching staff in 2022. I still don’t have an explanation for it. He’s averaged 4.2 yards per rushing attempt in his career and caught just one pass last season after hauling in 16 back in 2021.

I understand that Johnson didn’t always take advantage of his opportunities, such as the drop against Illinois. But he’s proven he can produce in the Big Ten and don’t expect him to be wasted this season.

With that in mind, here are some depth chart projections, stat predictions, and final thoughts on running back for Nebraska football post-spring practice.

Nebraska football running back depth chart/predictions

Starters: Gabe Ervin and Anthony Grant; Backups: Rahmir Johnson, Emmett Johnson, and Kwintin Ives

I’m going to cop out a little here, but I see Anthony Grant and Gabe Ervin as 1A and 1B, essentially co-starters. Someone is going to start the game, but I don’t see the rushing attempts being all that different.

Grant had 218 carries per game a season ago, which was not enough. That’s about 18 per game. I could see a similar number, the difference is that if Ervin is healthy too, Nebraska football will have another back that can share the load.

Watching the spring game, I didn’t see a huge difference between the two. Both are solid backs and I think each is capable of rushing for 1,000 yards. However, neither will get there due to the shared workload.

That doesn’t mean the run game won’t be effective. My hope is that between receptions and rushing attempts Johnson also touches the ball close to 100 times next season. We’ll see if that happens. Emmett Johnson probably won’t have a huge role unless there is an injury or he makes a big leap in fall camp.

The wildcard is freshman Kwinten Ives. We’ll see what he can do this fall. His potential excites me though and I wonder if he’ll find a way to make some sort of impact before the year is through.

One somewhat bold prediction outside of no one gets 1,000 yards — I don’t think anyone gets 200 carries next season either, although Grant and Ervin both get close.

Final thoughts on Nebraska running backs

I really wish Ajay Allen was part of this team. But I still think the running backs are going to have a really good year. Even though I don’t see a 1,000-yard rusher, my bet is that the trio of Grant, Ervin, and Johnson rush for over 2,000 yards next season, with Jeff Sims pitching in a little too.

Matt Rhule has talked about establishing the run and the quarterback always benefits from the play-action passing game. Plus, the Huskers have worked on adding some fullbacks.

That leads me to believe we are going to see some smashmouth football, the kind we all thought Nebraska football should have been playing last season.

The offensive line wasn’t great last year. Yet, it was better when it was run blocking, and in 2023, that will be the strong suit of the O-line and the offense as a whole.

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Nebraska Football zeroing in on local 2025 LB



Mandatory Credit: Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

Nebraska football is beginning to make inroads into the 2025 recruiting class, and they will have visitors on campus next weekend. Hosting some local talent. 2025 outside linebacker Zayvion Campbell will be in Lincoln next weekend.

This is notable for a couple of reasons. For one, Ryan Gottula is the head coach at Lincoln Southeast. His son Gunnar is part of the 2023 Nebraska football recruiting class. The family connection could help Nebraska football land Campbell.

Secondly, Nebraska is continuing to recruit in-state. This is something that we have seen in the 2023 and 2024 recruiting classes it appears that in-state recruiting will be a focal point. This is something the coaching staff has zeroed in on as one of their main goals during their time at Nebraska. They are sticking to that goal.

What could he bring to Nebraska football?

Campbell is a very intriguing player. He measures in at around six-foot-three, 200 pounds. He has good pursuit ability, and is able to wrap up and make tackles with ease. Campbell would be able to fit the Nebraska football defense by providing a solid presence inside. Campbell uses a variety of moves in order to get to the quarterback as well.

He would give Nebraska a player that could be used in multiple ways in a 3-3-5 defense. It would be fun to see defensive coordinator Tony White work with him. He has the ability to rush as well as fill gaps on the inside. That type of versatility is what Nebraska football should be looking for defensively with the scheme they have.

At the very least, Campbell is coming to campus to check things out.  It’s important that Nebraska continues to look at multiple candidates at the linebacker position. At the very least,  they need to make an effort to continue the recruiting pipeline in-state. The 2023 and 2024 classes were filled with Nebraska-born players. This is a trend that needs to continue.

For More Nebraska content, follow us on Twitter, like our Facebook Page, and Subscribe to the Husker Big Red YouTube Channel. You can also find our podcast on Apple or Spotify

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Nebraska Football: QB visit canceled and a Carter Nelson update



Nebraska football
Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Nebraska football is set for its first official visit weekend of June and Kamari McClellan has canceled, plus the latest on Carter Nelson.

One of the big questions lingering about Nebraska football recruiting this weekend was whether or not three-star quarterback Kamari McClellan would make it for his official visit.

It was still on the schedule for this weekend according to the recruiting sites and in a recent interview, McClellan indicated he was still coming. However, with the recent commitment of Daniel Kaelin, it was only going to happen if Nebraska football suddenly decided to take two quarterbacks in 2024.

Anything is possible but the visit has now been canceled according to Sean Callahan of Husker Online. I think McClellan will wind up at Clemson or another team scrambling for a QB. Nebraska football was in that position and the kid is talented, but Kaelin, who is heading to the Elite 11, is a much better get.

Daniel Kaelin will visit Nebraska football again

Speaking of Kaelin, it wasn’t lip service when he said he wants to be around when any recruit comes to visit. The quarterback will take his official visit the same weekend as Carter Nelson.

But he’s now on the list for an unofficial visit this weekend. There are a couple of wideouts expected to visit. Jacory Barney is one and the Huskers lead for the three-star wideout via the On3 prediction machine. He’s ranked 459th overall out of Miami, Florida.

Williams Nettles is also visiting but he could be a cornerback or receiver. Caleb Pyfrom is a three-star in-state tackle also visiting and Kaelin being on campus could help push him toward a commitment, which seems to be where things are trending according to recent crystal balls.

It’s just clear that Kaelin is serious about doing what he can for this class, no matter how many times he needs to come to campus.

Another Carter Nelson visit

Add Penn State to the list of teams to worry about in the Carter Nelson sweepstakes. He’s going to visit the Nittany Lions on June 16th, which will be his fourth scheduled official visit.

Nelson is going to visit Georgia this weekend, followed by Notre Dame next weekend. The Huskers just got a Futurecast projection from Greg Smith of Rivals to land Carter, the top-ranked recruit in the state in 2024 and things seem to be trending in the right direction.

My thought is that Nelson is likely going to take these visits and make a decision sometime this summer, maybe in July or August. That’s just a guess. I don’t see this recruitment bleeding into the season and Nebraska football has put more effort in than any other program.

That doesn’t mean anything on its own. But Carter just took a visit to Nebraska along with Kaelin and that connection seems to be helping. Nelson hasn’t talked about his recruitment a ton, so it’s hard to get a read, but the tea leaves are pointing in Nebraska’s direction.

We’ll see if that’s still true after the next three weekends.

For More Nebraska content, follow us on Twitter, like our Facebook Page, and Subscribe to the Husker Big Red YouTube Channel. You can also find our podcast on Apple or Spotify.




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Nebraska Football trending in right direction with Florida CB



Mandatory Credit: Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

Nebraska football is having a newsworthy recruiting month to start up June. The program is already trending with four-star corner Mario Buford. Now, it appears that another corner may be in their sights as well.

Amare Sanders is the name to keep an eye on. He is a four-star corner He is ranked numerically at 87.50 according to the On3 recruiting rankings. He plays at Gulliver Prep high school, and is from Miami, Fla.

Sanders is a three-star recruit and measures in at 6-foot-2, 167 pounds. Right now, Nebraska is in the lead for his recruitment according to the On3 Recruiting Prediction Machine. He is also visiting Nebraska this weekend, in what is turning out to be a big weekend for visitors.

Sanders has tremendous athleticism for a corner. He is able to make the proper reads on passing plays, and that allows him to close on wide receivers quickly and break up potential completions. He does a good job of turning his hips, and reading the play in its entirety. This is certainly important to his game and the way he plays. He also is a decent size for a corner, as he measures in at 6-foot-2 167 pounds.

Nebraska football making Florida a priority

It’s clear that Nebraska football wants to establish a stake in Florida. They are trending with wide receiver Jacory Barney Jr, and already have a commitment from Willis McGahee IV. Both of those players hail from Miami Palmetto. Sanders goes to Gulliver Prep, which is another highly-touted school in the state of Florida.

Currently, the 2024 Nebraska football recruiting class ranks 31st overall nationally with seven commitments. They have focused on both sides of the football, and are landing talented prospects both in and out of the state of Nebraska.

It will be interesting to see if Sanders ends up coming to Nebraska. The fact that he is visiting this weekend and is trending towards the Huskers is certainly a positive sign. The program done work in Florida before, but it seems like this time around their efforts will stick. Recruiting in Florida is a key component for success. Nebraska football is trying to establish that.

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