football Edit

Spring Preview: Wide Receiver

Only four Big Ten receivers had more receiving yards than Jordan Westerkamp (918).
Only four Big Ten receivers had more receiving yards than Jordan Westerkamp (918).

What we know

This is the most loaded position on the team. Jordan Westerkamp is a bonafide star and is a real threat to become Nebraska's first 1,000-yard receiver. Brandon Reilly emerged as a perfect complement to Westerkamp, who does his best work underneath. Reilly has tremendous speed and led the Big Ten in yards per catch (18.9).

From a pure talent standpoint, Stanley Morgan Jr. has a chance to be one of the better receivers in school history. The sticky-handed wideout is coming off a highlight-filled freshman campaign and deserves more targets in 2016. Alonzo Moore, a player previously plagued by drops and inconsistency, experienced a nice breakout last year and is a major threat on end-arounds, a pet play of offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf.

Throw in Fresno State transfer Keyan Williams (position coach Keith Williams' son), redshirt freshman Lavan Alston and Derrion Grim, who enrolled early and will participate in spring practice, and this appears to be a very deep group. There may not be enough passes to go around to accommodate this talented crowd.


Biggest question to answer

What will the Huskers get from De'Mornay Pierson-El? In fairness, this is a question that likely won't be answered during the spring. Pierson-El, who suffered a torn knee ligament and a fractured leg against Purdue, is reportedly back running again, but there is no way he's ready to participate in practice yet.

But we will get reports on how the junior is progressing, and if he makes a quick recovery he will be a big piece in this offense. In the three games proceeding the Purdue contest, Pierson-El was second on the team with 17 targets. He's a dynamic threat and this staff understands that he can give the offense an added dimension.

When Pierson-El will be back remains a mystery for now. But if there are positive whispers coming out of fall camp, it would be a boon for Nebraska's receiving corps and special teams alike.


Spring dark horse

"Dark horse" may be the wrong term here, because Morgan got plenty of attention for his moments of brilliance in 2015. But in terms of who could see their role increase the most, he's the most obvious candidate.

A four-star recruit, Morgan delivered on his potential from the outset. The coaches gave him more and more opportunities as the season went on, but he still finished fourth on the team with 45 targets. Considering Westerkamp, Reilly and tight end Cethan Carter all return, it's hard to see that number heavily increasing next fall.

But it should. Morgan is a special talent and is coming off one of the most productive freshman seasons in school history. If he has a strong spring, maybe he'll steal some targets away from one of the veterans.