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Nebraska Football: 3 Second-Year Players Poised for Stardom in 2023

Nebraska Football: 3 Second-Year Players Poised for Stardom in 2023

Nebraska Football: 3 Second-Year Players Poised for Stardom in 2023

This offseason, there are some significant changes happening in Nebraska football. With Matt Rhule taking over as head coach in place of Scott Frost, the program appears to be moving in the right way once again.


Before entering the NFL and failing miserably with the Carolina Panthers, Rhule had a lot of success as the head coach of Temple and Baylor. He must now rely on the players on the current roster to help the turnaround get underway.

Which players from Rhule's second season will break out as stars?

#3. Janiran Bonner, Wide Receiver

Decoldest Crawford, who is now playing for Louisiana Tech, will be replaced by Janiran Bonner. He is also most likely the superior option for the Cornhuskers. The composite ranks Bonner as the No. 311 overall talent and the 47th-best receiver, making him the second-best recruit in Nebraska's 2022 class.


On the last signing day, the Georgian switched from Georgia Tech to Nebraska, and he undoubtedly anticipated making an impact right away. That simply didn't occur. In actuality, Bonner had zero receptions and didn't even appear on the depth chart.


This season, Rhule will alter that as the depth chart searches for some playmakers. That describes Bonner, a former four-star prospect who will aid in making up for the departures of Trey Palmer and Omar Manning.

He has genuine WR1 potential, but nobody is yet mentioning it.

#2. Ajay Allen, Running Back

With Anthony Grant returning to Nebraska for one last season, the Cornhuskers' starting running back is once again certain. Ajay Allen, a second-year player who could become a breakthrough star, will however push him.


Grant nearly surpassed 1,000 yards last season, but Allen, the team's RB2, garnered attention after posting 190 yards and two touchdowns in four games. He appeared to be the type of back the Cornhuskers needed, averaging 5.8 yards per rush.


Next season's one-two punch of Grant and Allen will be spectacular, especially with Matt Rhule assuming the helm. The former three-star will have far more snaps than the 33 he had in 2022, despite the fact that they may not be evenly shared.

#1. Malcolm Hartzog, Defensive back

Matt Rhule will have some quality defensive backs to work with to guarantee that Nebraska's defense improves because it hasn't been up to snuff in years. Malcolm Hartzog, one of Rhule's first defensive stars in 2023, has a good chance of leading the Cornhuskers to an all-conference campaign.


With even greater coaching, he'll develop into one of the top cornerbacks in the Big Ten. He played pretty well as a freshman. Hartzog had 22 tackles, three interceptions, and two pass breakups towards the end of his rookie campaign. He was a rising star for the Cornhuskers who only just got started, and he is expected to start at cornerback in 2023.


It's difficult to imagine that Hartzog wasn't even among Nebraska's top recruits in the relatively weak 2022 recruiting class. He was ranked as the nation's No. 99 cornerback and the 27th-best prospect from the state of Mississippi when he was actually a mid-three-star talent.

5.0 / 6

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