Monday, July 12, 2010
Fresh Faces: Nebraska
By ESPN.com staff
Here are three Huskers with relatively low profiles around the conference who you'll be hearing from in 2010:
Baker Steinkuhler, DT
Last season, defensive tackle Jared Crick benefited from all the attention drawn by star Ndamukong Suh, blossoming into one of the Big 12's top defensive players. This year, with Crick sure to face constant double teams, Steinkuhler, a sophomore and the son of Dean Steinkuhler, a former Nebraska center who won the Lombardi and Outland trophies, could potentially do the same. At 6-foot-6 and 290 pounds, Steinkuhler has the size to become a force in the middle of the defense as a first-year starter. He had 17 tackles and played in all but one game as the top reserve at defensive tackle in 2009.
Brandon Kinnie, WR
Only two receivers caught more than 20 passes for the Huskers in 2009. Kinnie could join that group in 2010 after catching just 15 passes for 141 yards as a junior college transfer in 2009. Fourteen of those 15 receptions came in the final eight games, when Kinnie caught at least one pass per game. The junior possesses outstanding size at 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, and has become star receiver Niles Paul's workout partner. If Nebraska's quarterback play improves in 2010, Kinnie will be one of the key beneficiaries. He's still looking for his first career touchdown pass, but Kinnie had one of his best games against Texas in the Big 12 Championship, with two catches for 30 yards.
Austin Cassidy, S
Nebraska lost both safeties from last year's defense, Larry Asante and Matt O'Hanlon, but Cassidy looks ready to step into a starting role. The junior starred on special teams in 2009, notching nine tackles and playing some spot duty at safety. Cassidy appeared in all 14 games, and he'll be counted on to maintain Nebraska's defensive dominance from last year's Blackshirts. He was also one of just three players in the Big 12 with a perfect 4.0 GPA last season, earning first team Academic All-Big 12 honors.
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