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June 27, 2013

Top Husker players for 2013: No. 21-25

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. 25 DE Greg McMullen Analysis
Hoban HS
Akron, Ohio

Height: 6-3
Weight: 285
Year: RS Freshman

Depth Chart Projection: starting defensive end

2012 Stats: Redshirted

Recent Update:
Spring grade out: Defensive end

McMullen was one of the most talked about players during spring practice - coaches and players alike said the redshirt freshman was having a strong spring. Unfortunately, an injury kept him out of the spring game and robbed Husker fans of their first chance to see McMullen in action. He has ideal size for the position and was an excellent pass rusher in high school, accumulating more than 40 sacks in his prep career, including 12.5 in his senior year. With Eric Martin's graduation, NU is in desperate need of someone to put pressure on the quarterback - can McMullen be that guy?
Voting Rundown: Sean Callahan - No. 31 / Dan Hoppen - No. 29 / Robin Washut- No. 15

No. 24 S Corey Cooper Analysis
Proviso East HS
Maywood, Illinois

Height: 6-1
Weight: 210
Year: Junior

Depth Chart Projection: Starting safety

2012 Stats: Played in all 14 games, starting three. Piled up 17 tackles, including 1.5 for loss.

Recent Update:
Spring grade out: Safety

P.J. Smith and Daimion Stafford basically had the safety positions locked down last year, so playing time at safety wasn't easy to come by. Cooper still made an impact on special teams and spent a few games playing the dime back role for Nebraska. He certainly looks the part, but it's too early to tell if he has grasped the game's mental side. Cooper will certainly be pushed by Charles Jackson, D.J. Singleton, Nathan Gerry and Drake Martinez, but his experience gives him an early edge over that quartet.
Voting Rundown: Sean Callahan - No. 27 / Dan Hoppen - 19 / Robin Washut - No. 29

No. 23 CB Jonathan Rose Analysis
Auburn, Leeds HS
Leeds, Alabama

Height: 6-1
Weight: 190
Year: Sophomore

Depth Chart Projection: Backup cornerback

2012 Stats: Redshirted

Recent Update:
Spring grade out: Cornerback

Rose is a very tough player to judge because we have yet to see him play, but all indications are that he is very talented and will compete for a starting spot right away. He didn't get much playing time during his freshman campaign at Auburn, but appears to have the physical ability to make an impact early on in his Husker career. Cornerback is one of the team's more crowded positions and most of Rose's competitors for playing time have an experience edge over him. That being said, it wouldn't be a surprise to see Rose in the starting lineup at some point this year.
Voting Rundown: Sean Callahan - 35 / Dan Hoppen - No. 16 / Robin Washut - No. 23

No. 22 DT Vincent Valentine Analysis
Edwardsville HS
Edwardsville, Illinois

Height: 6-3
Weight: 325
Year: RS Freshman

Depth Chart Projection: Starting defensive tackle

2012 Stats: Redshirted

Recent Update:
Spring grade out: Defensive tackle

Valentine is another redshirt player who missed the spring game, leaving his ability to the imagination of Husker fans. There has been a lot of talk about his conditioning not being at the level it needs to be and that may have been one of the factors that led to him redshirting in 2012. But the Huskers are extremely thin on experience at defensive tackle and a breakout performance from Valentine would immensely help matters.
Voting Rundown: Sean Callahan - No. 20 / Dan Hoppen - No. 24 / Robin Washut - No. 24

No. 21 OT Matt Finnin Analysis
College of DuPage, Crete Monee HS
Crete, Illinois

Height: 6-7
Weight: 305
Year: Junior

Depth Chart Projection: In contention to start at left tackle

2012 Stats: Played at the College of DuPage

Recent Update:
Spring grade out: Offensive line

Even with a veteran group returning, Finnin comes to Nebraska with the chance to immediately earn playing time. The JUCO transfer will battle with Brent Qvale, who started all but one game last year, for the left tackle spot. Finnin chose Nebraska over offers from Ohio State, Oklahoma and West Virginia, so he certainly has talent. If he is quickly able to adjust to Division I football, he should at least factor into the offensive line rotation if he doesn't lock down a starting role.
Voting Rundown: Sean Callahan - No. 24 / Dan Hoppen - No. 26 / Robin Washut - No. 17

If you missed:

No. 26-30

No. 31-35

No. 36-40

NEXT UP: Ranking No. 16-20

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