Nebraska Football: Big Spring Ahead for Five That Enrolled Early?

The Nebraska football 2017 class has a few players who could earn extra playing time during the upcoming season. The five players who enrolled early gave themselves an even better chance of playing as true freshmen.

Here’s what this means for those five…

Avery Roberts

The highest-rated of the quintet, Roberts arrived on campus at a position with decent depth. Lucky for him, the linebacker room is fairly unproven and became even more important in the offseason. The switch to a 3-4 defense under new coordinator Bob Diaco makes having athletes at linebacker much more important.

A four-star recruit, Roberts plays inside linebacker and has a great nose for the ball. A big spring could mean early playing time for him. There are a good number of athletes at linebacker for the Huskers, but many of them have either had limited roles or not played at all.

Roberts has great football instincts, makes quick decisions and diagnoses plays quickly. He should be given a hard look for immediate playing time in the new defensive scheme.

Tristan Gebbia

The quarterback position may actually have some solid depth this year. Imagine that! As a result, Gebbia more than likely will redshirt. This is no knock on his talent and ability. He has a strong arm already with pretty good mechanics, but a year in the weight room should be beneficial.

Enrolling early has allowed Gebbia to get a jumpstart on learning the plays and system. This is a huge advantage at the quarterback position. Tanner Lee looks like the early favorite to start at quarterback going into the Spring. Patrick O’Brien is coming off his redshirt freshman season, and the Huskers added walk-on Andrew Bunch who transferred from Scottsdale Community College.

The depth at the position should allow Gebbia to redshirt so he can add strength and develop his skills. However, it will still be very exciting to see what he can do this spring.

Jaevon McQuitty

Finding some solid wide receiver recruits was very important this offseason as there were so many departing seniors at the position. Having two enroll early was a big advantage for Nebraska.

McQuitty is a nice addition to the class. The four-star prospect is quick and does a great job of high-pointing the ball. He has a nice burst that allows him to get past defenders and create separation.

Enrolling early allows McQuitty to learn the playbook and begin working with the quarterbacks. I also wouldn’t be surprised if he was given a chance to return some kicks this spring.

Keyshawn Johnson Jr.

Nebraska needs to replace slot receiver Jordan Westerkamp this year. Whoever takes over the role has some pretty big shoes to fill. Johnson should be given a good look to compete at the position.

Johnson’s not the fastest guy on the field. He probably isn’t the most athletic, either. However, he has great hands and runs strong and hard to finish off plays. His sure hands can make him a third down or red zone threat. He has the football IQ, talent, and determination to push for playing time this spring.

Broc Bando

Nebraska will need some solid offensive line play this year. The Huskers will be breaking in a new quarterback who will more than likely not be able to bail them out with his legs like Tommy Armstrong did so many times last year. Enter Bando.

The three-star offensive guard prospect will have his work cut out for him. There is a lot of young talent on the offensive line and some experience at the guard spot, too.

However, the line play was simply not good enough last year. The Huskers would like to run the ball consistently and have great pass protection for their new quarterback.

Unless Bando makes some huge moves this spring, I would not be surprised if he redshirted this season. This will allow him to add some strength, learn the offense and develop his skills. However, given some time, I believe Bando will prove a great addition to the Nebraska football team.

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