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December 31, 2007

Steinkuhler will play defense in San Antonio

SAN ANTONIO - When people think about Lincoln (Neb.) Southwest standout Baker Steinkuhler, they think of him as a prototypical left tackle at the next level.

However, what most people don't know is there's a pretty good chance that Steinkuhler could actually play on defense at Nebraska based on the Huskers current lack of depth on the defensive line.

Newly named head coach Bo Pelini and his coaching staff will get their first chance to evaluate Steinkuhler as a defensive lineman on the big stage in this Saturday's U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio.

Steinkuhler said on Sunday he's excited to get the opportunity to work on the defensive side of the ball to show people how complete of a player he is.

"I'm real excited to play defense because everybody is expecting me to be an offensive guy," Steinkuhler said. "I'm going to see what I can do on defense now.

"I think there's a pretty good chance that I could play defense next year. I'd say it's about half and half. It kind of depends how I do here and what ends up happening when I report for camp in August. We'll see what happens."

Steinkuhler is also the first ever prospect from the city of Lincoln to make the prestigious Army All-American Bowl in the game's eight year history.

"It's a great honor being the first guy ever from Lincoln, but I really don't look at it as that big of a deal," Steinkuhler said. "There will probably be many more after me some day."

Another interesting storyline for Steinkuhler in San Antonio is the fact he'll be surrounded by multiple players who were all committed with him to NU at one point during the recruiting process.

Before the coaching change took place at Nebraska, Army All-American's Blaine Gabbert (Missouri commit), Bryce Givens (Colorado), Trevor Robinson (Notre Dame) and Jonas Gray (Notre Dame) were all a part of NU's 2008 signing class.

Steinkuhler said on Sunday, he still considers himself friends with all four players, even though they won't be playing with him in Lincoln next season.

"It's not really awkward for me, because in the end people are going to make their own decision and do what they want to do," Steinkuhler said. "So I'm not too worried about it and I'll never force anybody to go somewhere."

As for the game itself, Steinkuhler said he's just excited to get the opportunity to compete against the nation's best.

"I'm a little nervous, because you never experience this in actual high school ball in Nebraska," Steinkuhler said. "It will be interesting to see the competition and what it's all about."


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