April 18, 2009

Five players poised for Spring Game breakouts

Every year there seems to be a handful of players who break out onto the scene during Nebraska's annual Red-White Spring Game. With today's spring game just hours away, HuskersIllustrated.com picked out five players who could make a splash and possibly raise their stock heading into fall camp.

Dejon Gomes, CB, 6-0, 190, Jr.

Though he's only been a Husker for a little more than three weeks, Dejon Gomes has already shown the athletic ability and natural instincts in coverage that made him one of the more high-profile recruits in NU's most recent class. Likely the No. 3 corner on the White squad behind junior Anthony West and sophomore Anthony Blue, Gomes should get plenty of reps to show what he can do in live action, especially as today's game moves into the second half. Matched against inexperienced quarterbacks and receivers, Gomes could make his presence felt in a hurry.
Cody Green, QB, 6-4, 215, Fr.

Following Patrick Witt's transfer and Kody Spano's knee injury earlier this spring, true freshman Cody Green will be thrust into the fire during the spring game, as he'll take reps for both the Red and the White squads today. No player garnered more hype heading into the spring than Green, and he'll get more than his share of chances to show what he can do. He's got all the physical tools to be a successful Big 12 quarterback, but today will be his first real test of how well he responds to going up against one of the conference's better defensive units in live action. My guess is that he does just fine.
Ricky Henry, OL, 6-4, 300, Jr.

Junior college transfer Ricky Henry became a fan favorite last year despite never playing a live snap because of his widely acclaimed intensity and physicality he showed during nearly every rep in practice. After a year of waiting, Henry will finally be able to put that mean streak on display for Husker Nation, as he's expected to get the start at right guard for the Red squad. Many expected Henry to solidify the starting right guard spot, or at least become the frontrunner for the job, by the end of the spring, but he apparently hasn't done enough for the coaching staff to give him the nod. Today could be the perfect venue for Henry to show just how good he can be on "game day."
Lester Ward, RB, 6-3, 215, RFr.

Because of the absence of junior Roy Helu, redshirt freshman Lester Ward will get the starting running back spot for the White squad today. After what his coaches have described as a great spring for the Brenham, Texas, native, however, the role might not be that much of a stretch. A combination of natural instincts for the position and an ability to create positive yards seemingly out of nothing on almost every carry, Ward has worked his way up to No. 3 on NU's depth chart at running back. Should he take his progress to the next level in today's spring game, it just might springboard him towards becoming a household name be season's end.
Alonzo Whaley, LB, 6-1, 225, RFr.

Redshirt freshman Alonzo Whaley made waves last season as a member of Nebraska's scout team, earning defensive scout team player of the year. Today, he'll finally get to show the rest of us what all the fuss has been about, as he's expected to start at WILL linebacker for the White squad. Whaley's nose for seeking out ball carriers should be put to the test against the likes of the Red team's Quentin Castille and Co., but don't expect Madisonville, Texas, native to shy away from the challenge.

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