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Monday, April 13, 2009
Paul's suspension sends Nebraska's WR depth into quandary

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Niles Paul's weekend arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence and his subsequent suspension on Monday has placed Nebraska' depth at wide receiver into further disarray.

Wide receiver is one of the Cornhuskers' biggest questions heading into Saturday's Red-White spring game and the rest of spring practice. The loss of leading 2008 receivers Todd Peterson and Nate Swift, who combined to accounted for 125 receptions for 1,727 yards and 14 touchdowns last season, stripped the team of two players who ranked among the top five receivers in school history.

Paul was counted on becoming one of the prime contenders to emerge as a starter after their departures. Along with Menelik Holt, Paul was expected to have a shot to show his skills in the spring game to cement his role as a potential playmaker.

During the 2008 season, Paul produced 23 catches for 214 yards. He was one of four returning Cornhuskers to have at least 20 catches last season.

Paul's departure also depletes the Cornhuskers by taking away their prime returning kick returner. Paul ranked 11th in the Big 12 after averaging 23.6 yards per return on 41 returns with one touchdown in 2008. He also ranked second on the team in punt returns last season behind Swift.

Coach Bo Pelini will have a tough decision to make on Paul after the spring is over. Considering his value as a receiver and kick returner, he would be a big loss for the Cornhuskers if he is lost to the team for an extended absence.