Amukamara embraces defensive side

March, 17, 2011
3/17/11
2:43
PM ET
ESPN's Elizabeth Merrill has a profile of cornerback Prince Amukamara, who came to Nebraska expecting to compete for a spot at running back but is leaving as a projected top-10 pick at corner. Here's an excerpt:
To this day, Amukamara isn't exactly sure what happened between November and June. He assumed he was hoodwinked. He remembers meeting with former NU running backs coach Randy Jordan, who during that fall weekend was "hyping me up," Amukamara said. He remembers arriving for summer workouts in 2007 and being directed to a meeting room with "Coach Elmo," otherwise known as Phil Elmassian. The secondary coach.

"I'm like, 'What happened?'" Amukamara said. "They just told me the room I was in, and that's all she wrote."

In fairness, Amukamara concedes that he was recruited as an athlete, which meant he played multiple positions. "But no one ever told me, 'If you come here, you're playing defensive back.' I was under the impression I was playing running back," he said.

It was Bill Callahan's final year at Nebraska, and Callahan, an offensive-minded coach who's now an assistant with the New York Jets, wasn't budging on the Amukamara decision. So the freshman wanted out. He chose not to redshirt in 2007, opting to get a taste of college football through special-teams work. He figured he'd transfer after '07, and use his redshirt then.

Then Callahan was fired, and the Bo Pelini back-to-defense era began. Pelini sat down with Amukamara during his first days at Nebraska, and Prince let a year's worth of frustrations fly. He asked if it was OK to move to offense. Pelini said yes. But he also told him that he'd coached in the NFL, and saw Amukamara as a prototype NFL defensive back. He said Amukamara would be playing a long time if he played defense. He said he'd eventually make a lot of money.

"I kind of took that," Amukamara said, "with a grain of salt."

Read the full story here.

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