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Red-White Spring Game, 4/21/18

Nebraska running back Greg Bell (right) rushes upfield during the Red-White Spring Game at Memorial Stadium in April.

Happy game week, Husker fans. 

Nebraska released its first official depth chart Sunday morning, providing the first full look at where players landed and who has earned a starting job. 

The headline, of course, is that Adrian Martinez will make history and become the first Nebraska true freshman to start a season-opener at quarterback. 

Here's the rest of the depth chart, along with some quick observations about each position group. 

Offense

Quarterback

*Adrian Martinez, 6-2, 220, fr.

Tristan Gebbia, 6-2, 195, rfr.

Fast take: What else is there to say? It was close. Really close. But Martinez gets the nod against Akron. Scott Frost said both quarterbacks will play this season. Now it’s just a question of how much Gebbia works in and, as always under center, how healthy NU stays over the course of the season.

Wide receiver

*Stanley Morgan, 6-1, 200, sr.

Bryan Reimers, 6-5, 220, sr.

-OR- Jaron Woodyard, 5-9, 190, jr.

Wide receiver

*Mike Williams, 5-10, 185, jr.

Andre Hunt, 6-0, 190, fr.

Wide receiver

*JD Spielman, 5-9, 185, so.

Tyjon Lindsey, 5-9, 200, so.

Fast take: Some newcomers are making noise in Troy Walters’ position group. Look no further than the Williams/Hunt line. Hunt, a true freshman, arrived on campus a little later than some of his classmates this summer but wasted no time putting together a productive camp.

Lindsey is listed as Spielman’s backup, but the bet here is both have major roles in this offense.

It’s a bit surprising to see seven names without Jaevon McQuitty, but the competition is stiff.

Bryan Reimers earned a scholarship on Friday and a spot on the two-deep behind Morgan — and alongside Woodyard — on Sunday. Not a bad weekend for the Lincoln native.   

Left tackle

*Brenden Jaimes, 6-6, 300, so.

Christian Gaylord, 6-6, 310, jr.

Right guard

*Jerald Foster, 6-3, 335, sr.

John Raridon, 6-4, 320, so.

Center

*Cole Conrad, 6-5, 320, sr.

Hunter Miller, 6-4, 325, rfr.

Left guard

*Tanner Farmer, 6-4, 325, sr.

Boe Wilson, 6-3, 305, so.

Right tackle

*Matt Farniok, 6-6, 330, so.

Matt Sichterman, 6-4, 310, rfr.

Fast take: Nothing unexpected up front. If you combine the offensive and defensive lines on this two-deep, you’ll notice that all 19 players listed are holdovers from Mike Riley’s program. Development matters in the trenches, and improved performance from the Huskers’ front lines will be about strength and conditioning and about coaching.

Jaimes and Farniok may be the linchpins of the offense’s 2018 season. If they stay healthy, this line has a chance to hold up. If either misses extensive time, there’s not much depth behind.

Tight end

*Jack Stoll, 6-4, 260, so.

Austin Allen, 6-8, 245, rfr.

-OR- *Kurt Rafdal, 6-7, 250, rfr.

Fast take: No big surprises here. We’ll see if freshmen Cameron Jurgens and Katerian Legrone can carve out roles for themselves. This is a prime bet for a breakout position, as Stoll, Allen and Rafdal have all had very productive camps.

Running back

*Greg Bell, 6-0, 205, jr.-

-OR- *Devine Ozigbo, 6-0, 235, sr.

Maurice Washington, 6-1, 190, fr.

-OR- Miles Jones, 5-8, 175, fr., 

Fast take: Not surprisingly, there are co-starters. The mild surprise is Jones’ inclusion on this list. Jones figured to have an early role in this offense from the time he flipped his verbal commitment to NU from Vanderbilt, but more as a slot-type or in “Duck-R” personnel. It flew a bit under the radar when running backs coach Ryan Held said last week he’d been working Jones into more tailback settings, but now, he’s on the backfield two-deep.

Defense

Defensive end

*Freedom Akinmoladun, 6-4, 295, sr.

Khalil Davis, 6-2, 310, jr.

-OR- Deontre Thomas, 6-3, 290, so.

Defensive tackle

*Mick Soltenberg, 6-5, 315, sr.

Peyton Newell, 6-3, 300, sr.-

-OR- Damion Daniels, 6-3, 340, rfr.

Defensive end

*Ben Stille, 6-5, 290, so.

-OR- *Carlos Davis, 6-2, 325, jr.

DaiShon Neal, 6-7, 310, jr. 

Fast take: Nothing too surprising here. It will be all about depth up front. How many players does Mike Dawson trust to get the job done?

Talk to people around the program, and they’ll tell you nobody had a better summer than Akinmoladun.

Maybe a mild surprise: Newell listed with Daniels as a co-backup to Stoltenberg.

If nine players listed means Dawson thinks he’s got nine guys he can play week in and week out, that gives him a ton of flexibility to look for matchups and experiment. Very interesting group to track over the opening weeks of the season.

Outside linebacker

*Tyrin Ferguson, 6-2, 230, jr.

Alex Davis, 6-5, 255, jr.

Outside linebacker

*Luke Gifford, 6-4, 245, sr.

Caleb Tannor, 6-2, 210, fr.

Fast take: Jovan Dewitt settled on Gifford and Ferguson as his starters after both had outstanding camps. He talked about them last week like they were his two most complete players, and the position requires some flexibility.

The intriguing part will be how he mixes and matches. Tannor is a natural pass rusher but just a true freshman, ableit a heralded one. Davis is a big body and figures to have a role in more running down situations.

Breon Dixon is not on the two-deep. It’s a question that will be asked early in Frost’s news conference on Monday. Is it because he just doesn’t have that big of a role? Will he play different spots in different situations? We’ll find out.

Inside linebacker

*Dedrick Young, 6-1, 245, sr.

-OR- *Collin Miller, 6-3, 245, so.

Inside linebacker

*Mohamed Barry, 6-1, 230, jr.

-OR- *Will Honas, 6-1, 235, jr.

Fast take: ORs all around for Barrett Ruud’s group. Miller charged hard during camp and is listed as a co-starter.

The interesting thing will be to see if Ruud does end up playing essentially a platoon system. Ruud's been complimentary of Young since spring ball started, and Honas was seen by some as an instant starter when he signed this winter from junior college, but here we are six days from kickoff and everybody's listed on equal footing. 

Cornerback

*Lamar Jackson, 6-3, 215, jr.

Braxton Clark, 6-4, 200, fr.

Cornerback

*Dicaprio Bootle, 5-10, 190, so.

Cam Taylor, 6-0, 205, fr.

Fast take: Nothing surprising here. One thing is clear: Jackson and Bootle have some competition. Taylor and Clark are both true freshmen who have made plays and turned heads in camp. They won’t sit idly back.

Taylor, in particular, could factor in NU’s nickel packages from Week 1.

Safety

*Antonio Reed, 6-2, 215, sr.

-OR- *Deontai Williams, 6-1, 200, so.

Aaron Williams, 5-11, 190, sr.

Safety

*Tre Neal, 6-1, 215, sr.

JoJo Domann, 6-1, 225, so.

-OR- Marquel Dismuke, 6-2, 200, so.

Fast take: Neal arrived as a graduate transfer and promptly locked up one of the starting spots for Travis Fisher on the back end. The Huskers have a pair of big-time athletes listed as co-starters opposite him in Williams and Reed.

Domann came all the way back from a second knee surgery to be listed as a co-backup to Neal alongside Dismuke, who seemed to make up ground late in camp.

Domann will have a role somewhere at some time, but Fisher has plenty of flexibility to move players around here.

Specialists

Place-kicker

*Barret Pickering, 6-0, 195, fr.

Cole Frahm, 6-6, 235, rFr.

Fast take: Dewitt said recently that Pickering had a slight lead and he held on. A new era of Husker kicking begins after Drew Brown's graduation. 

Punter

Caleb Lightbourn, 6-3, 250, jr.

Isaac Armstrong, 5-11, 205, jr.

Fast take: Lightbourn has big power and Dewitt said he spent the spring and summer gaining strength and detailing his mechanics. 

Long snapper

*Jordan Ober, 6-1, 225, jr.

Chase Urbach, 6-3, 210, jr.

Fast take: No surprise here. 

Holder

*Isaac Armstrong, 5-11, 205, jr.

Caleb Lightbourn, 6-3, 250, jr.

Fast take: Armstrong took over duties last year when Zack Darlington was out and did a good job. 

Kick returner

*JD Spielman, 5-9, 185, so.

*Jaron Woodyard, 5-9, 190, jr.

Maurice Washington, 6-1, 190, fr.

Punt returner

*Tyjon Lindsey, 5-9, 200, so.

JD Spielman, 5-9, 185, so

Fast take: The return game has a chance to be a real strength for the Huskers this season. Dewitt recently called it, "a gluttony of spoils to a certain degree."  You can see that on this two-deep. 

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Sports writer

Parker joined the Journal Star as the University of Nebraska football beat writer in August 2017. He previously covered Montana State athletics for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 2012.

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