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Countdown to spring ball: Opportunity looms for running backs looking to move up depth chart
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Countdown to spring ball: Opportunity looms for running backs looking to move up depth chart

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Nebraska opens spring football March 4 and is set for a five-week session before the Red-White Spring Game on April 13 at Memorial Stadium. In the days before spring ball starts, the Journal Star is previewing each position group. We continue with running backs.

Nebraska vs. Michigan, 9/22

Nebraska running back Wyatt Mazour (37), seen here on a fourth-quarter run, scored the Huskers' only touchdown against Michigan in a 56-10 loss at Michigan Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018.

Departed players: Devine Ozigbo, Mikale Wilbon, Austin Rose.

Returning players: Maurice Washington, Wyatt Mazour, Jaylin Bradley, Miles Jones.

Incoming players: Dedrick Mills, Rahmir Johnson, Ronald Thompkins.

2018 stats: Washington (two starts) 77 carries for 455 yards (5.9) and three touchdowns, as well as 24 receptions for 221 yards and one TD; Mazour 11 for 76 (6.9) and one TD, as well as one catch for 21 yards; Jones one carry for 5 yards as well as one reception for 21.

Overview: This could be a spring of opportunity for a few players.

It's all about being on hand for drills.

Washington, the talented sophomore, is on hand but in the midst of a legal situation in which he faces criminal charges in California.

Two incoming freshmen — Johnson and Thompkins — will arrive in the summer. Same goes for Mills, as long as he completes academic work at Garden City (Kansas) Community College. Nebraska officials felt good enough about his progress to sign him in January.

In the meantime, players such as Jones, Bradley and Mazour could get plenty of reps this spring.

Bradley, a 6-foot, 210-pound sophomore from Bellevue West, is intriguing because in 2017 he flashed potential as a true freshman — 24 carries for 93 yards — but sank to seventh or eighth on the depth chart last season.

The 5-8, 175-pound Jones, a touted speedster from Miramar, Florida, played one game last season — against Bethune-Cookman — before a season-ending injury. He battled injuries throughout the season and remains something of an unknown quantity.

The 5-9, 200-pound Mazour, an Albion native, can't be discounted because of his speed and toughness. In addition to his work last season at running back, he returned three kickoffs for 48 yards.

Whether Washington is available this spring is unknown. Head coach Scott Frost likely will address the matter March 4 during a pre-spring news conference.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7440 or ssipple@journalstar.com. On Twitter @HuskerExtraSip.

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Husker columnist

Steven, a lifelong Nebraskan, newspaper enthusiast and UNL grad, joined the Journal Star in 1990 and has covered NU football since 1995.

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