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June 20, 2013

Top Husker players for 2013: No. 31-35

Voting Criteria: Player's importance to the team in 2013, talent and potential for the upcoming season. A player's long term/NFL potential was not taken into consideration.

Voting Panel: HuskerOnline.com publisher Sean Callahan, HuskerOnline.com senior writer Robin Washut and HuskerOnline.com staff writer Dan Hoppen.

No. 35 LB Thomas Brown Analysis
Junipero Serra HS
Gardena, California

Height: 6-2
Weight: 220
Year: RS Freshman

Depth Chart Projection: No. 2 BUCK linebacker

2012 Stats: Redshirted

Recent Update:
Spring grade out: Linebacker

Brown has all the physical ability necessary to make an impact on Nebraska's defense this season, but like most young defensive players, it will come down to how well he can grasp the system mentally that will determine how much he sees the field in 2013. One way the Huskers have been trying to get him involved is by lining him up as a rush end in obvious passing situations. He showed great skills off the edge in the reps he got there this spring, and he could provide NU with some much needed pressure from the front four in that role.
Voting Rundown: Sean Callahan - No. 34 / Dan Hoppen - No. 32 / Robin Washut- No. 34

No. 34 S Charles Jackson Analysis
Klein Collins HS
Spring, Texas

Height: 5-11
Weight: 175
Year: Sophomore

Depth Chart Projection: Backup safety

2012 Stats: Played in all 13 games, primarily on special teams. Led NU with seven special teams tackles.

Recent Update:
Spring grade out: Safety

After coming in as a former Rivals100 cornerback, Jackson made the move to safety over the offseason and practiced their all of spring ball. While he's still adjusting to the position, Jackson definitely impressed with his natural ball skills in coverage and his elite athletic ability. While veterans Corey Cooper and Harvey Jackson look to be the frontrunners to win the starting safety spots this fall, don't be surprised if Charles Jackson makes a strong push for playing time all year, especially as he continues to grasp the defensive playbook.
Voting Rundown: Sean Callahan - No. 39 / Dan Hoppen - No. 22 / Robin Washut - No. 38

No. 33 CB Mohammed Seisay Analysis
E. Arizona JC/Memphis/W. Springfield HS
Springfield, Virginia

Height: 6-2
Weight: 200
Year: Senior

Depth Chart Projection: Back-up cornerback

2012 Stats: Had seven total tackles in 12 games played

Recent Update:
Spring grade out: Cornerback

Expectations were as high for Seisay coming into last season as anyone on the team, but an ankle injury during fall camp forced him to miss the first two games of the year. Seisay was never really able to establish a strong role at the position as a result, but now with a full year in the system, he could end up being the physical force on the outside the Huskers have been hoping for. Seisay is a big, strong and smart corner who holds quite a bit of experience, and as long as he can stay healthy he should be right in the mix for NU at corner this season.
Voting Rundown: Sean Callahan - NR / Dan Hoppen - No. 30 / Robin Washut - No. 26

No. 32 LB Jared Afalava Analysis
Bingham HS
South Jordan, Utah

Height: 6-3
Weight: 230
Year: RS Freshman

Depth Chart Projection: No. 1 BUCK linebacker

2012 Stats: Redshirted

Recent Update:
Spring grade out: Linebacker

With such great size, speed and athleticism, Afalava fits the bill of what Nebraska is looking for in a BUCK linebacker to a T. However, like Brown, the biggest hurdle for him now is matching those physical skills with a strong mental grasp of the defense. A solid spring has him in position to be a starter for the season opener, but he's going to have to continue to grow with his knowledge of the system if he's going to be able to maximize his full potential.
Voting Rundown: Sean Callahan - No. 33 / Dan Hoppen - No. 33 / Robin Washut - No. 25

No. 31 K Mauro Bondi/Pat Smith Analysis
West Boca Raton HS/Western Illinois
Boca Raton, Florida/Quincy, Illinois

Height: 6-0/5-11
Weight: 205/185
Year: Sophomore/Senior

Depth Chart Projection: No. 1 Kicker

2012 Stats: Redshirted/10-of-10 on field goal attempts

Recent Update:
5 questions left to be answered following spring ball

For the first time since 2008, Nebraska won't have someone named Alex Henerey or Brett Maher handling the place kicking duties this season. Bondi did enough this spring to make the coaching staff feel comfortable with him in the role, but the competition will start all over again in fall camp when Smith, a transfer from Western Illinois, joins the mix. Smith was named one of 10 finalists for the FCS kicker of the year award in 2012, and he could easily unseat Bondi for the starting kicker spot by the end of August.
Voting Rundown: Sean Callahan - NR / Dan Hoppen - No. 16 / Robin Washut - No. 31

If you missed:

Top 40 players: No. 36-40

NEXT UP: Ranking No. 26-30

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