Spring football practice, 3.11.2019

Offensive lineman Cameron Jurgens listens to coaches during Nebraska football practice at Hawks Championship Center on March 11.

As Nebraska's preseason camp approaches, Husker Extra is counting down the 30 most intriguing players on the roster.

A couple of notes: This isn’t best player or most important. As a list based on intrigue, it skews a bit toward youth and new players, but there will be plenty of established contributors, too.

The only scholarship player not considered for the list is defensive lineman Jahkeem Green, because at the outset of our countdown he is still in junior college and is only verbally committed to Nebraska.

No. 4: Cam Jurgens, C, redshirt freshman 

Is Cam Jurgens healthy? If not, how long might he be out? Are there long-term concerns after a serious high school injury to the Beatrice native's foot and ankle, and at least a couple of setbacks in college? 

And just how high, should he get fully healthy, is this guy's ceiling? 

Jurgens is talked about like he's the center of the future, a linchpin in Nebraska's offensive line for years to come. First things first, though, the Huskers have to find a way to get him on the field and keep him there. 

Head coach Scott Frost played Jurgens' health status close to the vest in Chicago recently. He acknowledged last fall that Jurgens had fractured his foot soon after transitioning from tight end to offensive line. Since then, plenty of rumor and innuendo but little in the way of concrete information. 

Meanwhile, Frost and offensive line coach Greg Austin use words like "special" and "elite" when discussing Jurgens' athleticism and vast potential. The whole fervor started when Austin last fall mentioned that Frost had likened Jurgens to the next coming of Dave Rimington. 

Frost clearly believes in Jurgens' ability — and marvels regularly about how Jurgens threw the shot put further in high school than he did — and the 6-foot-3, 285-pound Jurgens showed glimpses of why in the spring. When will he show them again? Perhaps it's sooner, perhaps it's later. 

If this list had started three weeks later than it did, Jurgens would still be near the top and freshman offensive lineman Ethan Piper would be on it, likely nearly as high. Such is the mystery around who might play center in 2019 for the Huskers. Either way, they form a pair of very athletic, very young in-state linemen who will have much to say about how the position group develops in the years to come. 

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Contact the writer at pgabriel@journalstar.com or 402-473-7439. On Twitter @HuskerExtraPG.


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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