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July 18, 2014

HuskerOnline.com's 2014 Top 40 players: 1-5

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. 5 QB Tommy Armstrong Analysis
Steele HS
Cibolo, Texas

Height: 6-1
Weight: 220
Year: Sophomore

Depth Chart Projection: Starting quarterback

2013 Stats: Played in nine games with eight starts, was 7-1 as s starter. Completed 51 percent of his passes and set school record with 99-yard touchdown pass in the Gator Bowl

Recent Update:
Beck talks Armstrong's summer

Armstrong's numbers last season weren't necessarily anything to write home about, aside from one very important stat: his 7-1 record as a starter. He may not be the biggest, strongest or fastest quarterback around, but Armstrong has established himself as Nebraska's top signal caller because of what Tim Beck calls an "it factor" and command of the huddle. Armstrong still has a long way to go in his development under center, but his undeniable leadership qualities and rare poise for a player his age make the future look very bright so long as he can continue to progress.
Voting Rundown: Sean Callahan: 4 / Dan Hoppen: 11 / Robin Washut: 10 / Nate Clouse: 3 / Gregg Peterson: 3

No. 4 OL Alex Lewis Analysis
Mountain Pointe HS
Tempe, Ariz.

Height: 6-6
Weight: 290
Year: Junior

Depth Chart Projection: Starting left tackle

2013 Stats: Sat out season after transferring from Colorado

Recent Update:
Spring grade out: Offensive line

Lewis hasn't even played a single snap for Nebraska yet, but based on what we saw from the junior transfer from Colorado over the course of spring practice, it's safe to say there hasn't been an offensive lineman with Lewis's combination of fire, attitude and talent since maybe Richie Incognito. It didn't take long for Lewis to solidify himself as the No. 1 left tackle, and he and Randy Gregory will only continue to make each other better going up against each other every day in practice all year long.
Voting Rundown: Sean Callahan: 5 / Dan Hoppen: 5 / Robin Washut: 4 / Nate Clouse: 4 / Gregg Peterson: 7

No. 3 WR Kenny Bell Analysis
Fairview HS
Boulder, Colo.

Height: 6-1
Weight: 185
Year: Senior

Depth Chart Projection: Starting wide receiver

2013 Stats: Played in all 13 games with 12 starts, caught 52 passes for 577 yards and four touchdowns

Recent Update:
RojoBreakdown: How Bell rebounds in 2014

After earning first-team All-Big Ten honors as a sophomore in 2012, Bell's junior campaign was a bit of a disappointment. Even though he came up with some huge plays, his numbers and overall productivity fell well short of the lofty goals he had set for himself going into the year. Now the clear No. 1 and leader of the Huskers' receiving corps, Bell is once again eying a breakout season, and all indications suggest he's poised to do just that. He'll need some of his younger wide outs to step up, but he will be one of the focal points in what should be an explosive NU offense in 2014.
Voting Rundown: Sean Callahan: 3 / Dan Hoppen: 3 / Robin Washut: 3 / Nate Clouse: 7 / Gregg Peterson: 4

No. 2 RB Ameer Abdullah Analysis
Homewood HS
Homewood, Ala.

Height: 5-9
Weight: 195
Year: Senior

Depth Chart Projection: Starting running back

2013 Stats: Started all 13 games, led team with 1,690 rushing yards and 11 total touchdowns. Earned first-team All-Big Ten and third-team All-American honors

Recent Update:
Husker Buzz: Abdullah gets unique opportunity

Abdullah was the Big Ten's leading rusher in 2013 with 1,690 yards and nine touchdowns, marking the best season by a Husker running back since Ahman Green in 1997 and NU's fourth-highest rushing total of all-time. He's rushed for 2,977 yards and 20 touchdowns the last three years and has a chance this season to challenge Mike Rozier's career school record of 4,780 yards. He will be the heart and soul of Nebraska's offense and will take some of the pressure off of Armstrong, all while making a serious push for the Heisman Trophy.
Voting Rundown: Sean Callahan: 2 / Dan Hoppen: 1 / Robin Washut: 1 / Nate Clouse: 2 / Gregg Peterson: 2

No. 1 DE Randy Gregory Analysis
Hamilton Southeastern HS (Arizona Western C.C.)
Fishers, Ind.

Height: 6-6
Weight: 240
Year: Junior

Depth Chart Projection: Starting defensive end

2013 Stats: Played in all 13 games with 10 starts, set NU first-year player record with 10.5 sacks and earned unanimous first-team All-Big Ten honors

Recent Update:
Husker Buzz: 2015 shaping up to be strong NU draft class

Gregory took the Big Ten by storm in 2013, leading the conference with 10.5 sacks to go along with 19 tackles for loss, 18 quarterback hurries and 66 total tackles. The former juco transfer has a combination of speed, size and athletic ability that make him a match-up nightmare and has NFL scouts drooling over his potential at the next level, as most project him as a high first rounder with a big season in 2014. Nebraska more than hit a home run by signing Gregory a year ago, and he has a chance to go down as one of the best pass rushers in school history.
Voting Rundown: Sean Callahan: 1 / Dan Hoppen: 2 / Robin Washut: 2 / Nate Clouse: 1 / Gregg Peterson: 1

If you missed:

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