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As an avid Husker fan since age 6, I can definitely say that the past couple of seasons have not been the greatest. With Bo Pelini being relieved of his duties as head coach; former Oregon State coach Mike Riley taking over the Huskers (as well as almost completely changing the entire coaching staff); and a rough 2015 season, which was the first losing season for the Huskers since 2007, it’s been rough for fans of the red and white. However, this team has a lot of potential to become great in 2016.
Let’s start with Tommy Armstrong, Jr. The 6’1, 220-lb senior out of Cibolo, Texas, has had 3 consistent seasons as Nebraska’s starting quarterback. Armstrong is hoping to break some school records this year, as he is less than 600 yards from the school passing record and only 3 touchdown passes away from earning the record in that category. He is a dual-threat quarterback who has a lot of potential for making good plays in both rushing and passing, so be prepared to watch him on the field.
Another senior who will be making some big plays is none other than 6’0, 200-lb wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp. Westerkamp is only 52 catches and 741 receiving yards from the school records in those categories, both of which are held by Kenny Bell, Westerkamp’s former teammate. Westerkamp has had several of his catches make headlines, including his 2012 game-winning Hail Mary touchdown reception against Northwestern and his behind-the-back catch against Florida Atlantic in 2014, which was ESPN’s College Football Play of the Year. Expect to see Westerkamp continue to delight fans as he goes for some school records.
Defensively, one of the guys to watch will be 6’2, 220-lb senior safety Nate Gerry. Gerry has helped the Blackshirt defense for the past 3 years, and 2016 will most likely be no different. He led Nebraska defense in both tackles and interceptions for the 2015 season, as well as being on the Big Ten’s Top Ten list of safeties for the past 2 seasons. Gerry has 9 interceptions, only 5 away from the Husker record of 14, and is 55 tackles from making the top ten in UNL history. Get ready to watch him intimidate other teams as he tries to help the Huskers this season.
Other key returning players include senior I-back Terrell Newby, senior linebacker Josh Banderas, senior wide receiver Alonzo Moore, sophomore wide receiver Stanley Morgan Jr., junior wide receiver De’Mornay Pierson-El, and senior linebacker Michael Rose-Ivey. Plus, the Huskers have gained some new recruits this season, including freshman Patrick O’Brien, a quarterback out of San Juan Capistrano, California, who is looking to become quarterback after Armstrong graduates. Be prepared to see some Husker victories on the turf this year.