Roster Rumblings for 2012
A Few Surprises on Nebraska's 105-man Roster
Nebraska opened their 2012 fall camp this weekend, with a press conference and their first two practices. But, it's hard to learn much from practices in helmets and shorts. So, too many of the news items coming from the weekend were things that fans had heard before (Martinez is getting better! Really, he is!) or more aesthetic than athletic (New practice uniforms - fancy!) The most valuable piece of football-related information from this week is the makeup of NU's 105-man roster. There were a few surprises on the roster, both good and bad.
Nebraska lists 144 players as a part of their program, including both scholarships and walk-on players. So, whittling that number down to 105 is no simple challenge. Coaches need to consider the depth of each position group as well as the players who performed best during the spring and during their summer conditioning program. Sometimes other factors like injuries or personal situations play a part too.
Missing Two Big Names
First, here is the bad news. Two highly-regarded prospects are not on NU's 105-man list for this fall. One is Ryan Klachko, an offensive lineman from Illinois who was a part of the Huskers' 2011 recruiting class. Klachko has left the NU program. Coach Bo Pelini cited a lack of "cultural fit" in the program. Klachko did not comment.
The other surprising absence on the list was defensive tackle prospect Todd Peat Jr. Peat is also a member of the 2011 recruiting class. Pelini indicated that lingering effects of a back injury Peat suffered were a part of the choice to leave him off of the roster.
Walk Ons Step Up
Now, a piece of good news. Seven members of the Husker walk-on class for this year appear good enough to contribute to the team, and made the 105 man roster. Running backs Graham Nabity and King Frazier, fullback Andy Janovich, tight end Trey Foster and wide receivers Brandon Reilly, Jordan Nelson and Sam Foltz. If any of them make a meaningful contribution as a true frosh walk-on, even on special teams, that's "found money" for Husker coaches seeking to add talent without burning scholarships. Two interesting facts to mull over: all but one of these players (Frazier) hails from Nebraska; and all of them are offensive players.
Waiting for Linebackers
One other personnel note - two 2012 scholarship players are not yet with the team. Jared Afalava and Alonzo Moore - both linebackers - are waiting for academic clearance from the NCAA. Coaches seem confident in their ability to get cleared. But, every day that these two players miss camp could hurt their ability to make a meaningful contribution to the team in the 2012 season.
Teams can't be coached, developed and unified until they are first assembled. The assembly appears complete for 2012. Even with a few surprises, both good and bad, this is the 105-man group that Husker fans will root for this year.