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July 15, 2014

HuskerOnline.com's 2014 Top 40 players: 16-20

Voting Criteria: Player's importance to the team in 2014, 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, HuskerOnline.com staff writer Dan Hoppen, HuskerOnline.com recruiting expert Nate Clouse and HuskerOnline.com video producer Gregg Peterson.

No. 20 DB Charles Jackson Analysis
Klein Collins HS
Spring, Texas

Height: 5-11
Weight: 180
Year: Junior

Depth Chart Projection: Starting nickelback

2013 Stats: Played in 13 games, 7 tackles, 1 fumble forced

Recent Update:
Spring grade out: Defensive back

Jackson's athleticism and hitting prowess have caused fans to wonder why he hasn't seen more snaps over the past few seasons. Coaches attributed Jackson's lack of playing time to the fact that he was still learning the defense, but that won't be an excuse in 2014. Jackson is ideally suited to replace the departed Ciante Evans at nickel back, and fellow Huskers say he's one of the hardest hitters on the team. Now it's time for Jackson to prove his ability on the field - if this isn't the year, it's hard to say when (or if) Jackson will make his mark on the program. His time is now.
Voting Rundown: Sean Callahan: 21 / Dan Hoppen: 17 / Robin Washut: 13 / Nate Clouse: 22 / Gregg Peterson: 22

No. 19 TE Cethan Carter Analysis
Archbishop Rummel HS
Metairi, La.

Height: 6-4
Weight: 240
Year: Sophomore

Depth Chart Projection: Starting tight end

2013 Stats: Played in 13 games (6 starts), 10 receptions for 127 yards

Recent Update:
Spring grade out: Tight end

Jake Long struggled with injuries out of the gate last season, limiting both his playing time and his effectiveness. This forced Carter, a true freshman, into a leading role early on. He admitted this spring that he was a bit overwhelmed at first, though he grew more comfortable as the season wore on. Carter is very athletic for the position, and the Huskers have the options of moving him around a bit. As long as they aren't worried about putting too much on his plate, Carter has the ability to line up in the backfield, at tight end or even out wide. Carter appears to have a very bright future in front of him, but with an extremely young tight end group, Nebraska needs him to grow up fast.
Voting Rundown: Sean Callahan: 13 / Dan Hoppen: 18 / Robin Washut: 20 / Nate Clouse: 11 / Gregg Peterson: 30

No. 18 S LeRoy Alexander Analysis
Whimter HS
Toledo, Ohio

Height: 6-0
Weight: 195
Year: Sophomore

Depth Chart Projection: Starting safety

2013 Stats: Played in 13 games (1 start), 34 tackles (1 for loss), 1 interception, 1 fumble recovery

Recent Update:
Spring grade out: Safety

Alexander battled with Andrew Green for playing time last season, but the position appears to be his in 2014. Nathan Gerry is certainly going to put up a fight, but Alexander has the experience edge and played well when called upon last season. He had five tackles in four differentgames, and he only figures to get better as his playing time increases. Alexander was a solid starting safety last year - another year of experience under his belt only figures to improve his potential.
Voting Rundown: Sean Callahan: 15 / Dan Hoppen: 19 / Robin Washut: 15 / Nate Clouse: 16 / Gregg Peterson: 27

No. 17 WR Jordan Westerkamp Analysis
Montini Catholic HS
Lombard, Ill.

Height: 6-0
Weight: 195
Year: Sophomore

Depth Chart Projection: Starting slot receiver

2013 Stats: 20 receptions for 283 yards and 1 touchdown

Recent Update:
Spring grade out: Wide receiver

Westerkamp's first season is best remembered by his Hail Mary catch against Northwestern, which ended up being his only touchdown of the season. But the sure-handed slot receiver ended up with the fourth-most targets on the team behind Quincy Enunwa, Kenny Bell and Ameer Abdullah. Westerkamp is underrated athletically and should get more of a chance to show what he can do this year, provided he can hold off senior Jamal Turner. Westerkamp may not be the most dynamic wideout on the roster, but his ability to get open and consistently bring the ball in are very valuable commodities.
Voting Rundown: Sean Callahan: 19 / Dan Hoppen: 16 / Robin Washut: 22 / Nate Clouse: 12 / Gregg Peterson: 21

No. 16 LB Josh Banderas Analysis
Lincoln Southwest HS
Lincoln, Neb.

Height: 6-2
Weight: 235
Year: Sophomore

Depth Chart Projection: In competition to start at MIKE linebacker

2013 Stats: Played in 13 games, starting 4, 28 tackles (3 for loss), 2.0 sacks

Recent Update:
Spring grade out: Linebacker

Banderas and Michael Rose are in a fierce battle for the MIKE spot after Banderas moved their halfway through spring ball. Rose has the experience edge and was a major contributor in the defense's improvement last season, but Banderas may simply be too talented to keep off the field. He conceded to not being completely ready while earning early starts last season, but those doubts seem to be gone now. The Huskers haven't been afraid to move linebackers around in the past, and Banderas has experience at the BUCK, so it's possible the sophomore could see the field at a different linebacker position this year.
Voting Rundown: Sean Callahan: 17 / Dan Hoppen: 24 / Robin Washut: 16 / Nate Clouse: 13 / Gregg Peterson: 19

If you missed:

No. 21-25

No. 26-30

No. 31-35

No. 36-40

NEXT UP: Ranking No. 11-15

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