When you talk about the Nebraska football running back room, all the buzz seems to stem around the new additions. To be honest, that is expected, as those additions should be able to spark the room. Led by new running backs coach Brian Applewhite, I have confidence that they will be able to get the job done.
With that in mind, there are some returners who I believe are in line to make an impact. One of those players is Jaquez Yant.
He did not see very much action in 2021. Nevertheless, he made an impact when he did. All of us remember his breakout game so to speak against Northwestern. In that one, he carried the ball 13 times for 127 yards. He also managed to make an impact against Purdue, carrying the ball six times for 60 yards, for an impressive 10 yards per carry.
Yant has shown the ability to make an impact in spurts for Nebraska football. It was great to see him really get into a groove when he did, but I feel like those spurts were just exactly that. I really wanted to see him make more of an impact, but I understand the running back room was a little bit crowded.
Now the big question is, what’s next for him? There is no doubt that the depth at the position got a lot stronger over the course of the offseason. As Brian Christopherson alluded to in his piece on Friday, there are a ton of new names at the position.
But seemingly at the ready when practices start are Rahmir, Yant, Markese Stepp and transfer Anthony Grant, who started his career at Florida State and ripped up JUCO fields this past fall. So there’s plenty around right here and now to trigger the best out of a competitor wanting to carve out his space AND perhaps build certain impressions before others get here.
I don’t want to say he is on the outside looking in. After all, we saw what he could accomplish when given the chance. I will say that he is in for a good amount of competition. We know the type of player he can be. He is a physical bulldozer that has a constant motor. Once he is able to find that hole in the line, it is like trying to stop a train on the tracks.
He can certainly emerge from all of this as a key player in the running back rotation. However, he may have to work for it a little bit more than last year. Heading into spring ball, he needs to make the most of these practices and be able to make an impression. The lack of depth at the running back position is no longer. For him, he can use that as extra motivation. With that being said, something tells me he doesn’t need any further motivation.