LINCOLN — Senior I-back Rex Burkhead added to his long list of accomplishments Friday night, being named the 2012 winner of the Guy Chamberlin Trophy at Nebraska’s annual football banquet.
Also honored were linebacker Sean Fisher with the Tom Novak Trophy and defensive tackle Baker Steinkuhler as winner of the Cletus Fischer Native Son Award.
Those three will be honored during the Outland Trophy banquet Jan. 10 in Omaha.
Burkhead and Steinkuhler also were named team captains, along with linebacker Will Compton, quarterback Taylor Martinez and kicker-punter Brett Maher.
Martinez was named both the team and offensive MVP, Compton was the defensive MVP and Maher the special teams MVP. Scout-team honors went to offensive lineman Mike Moudy and linebacker Thomas Brown. Also, I-back Ameer Abdullah and center Justin Jackson were voted the Huskers’ lifters of the year.
The list of award winners:
Captains: Offense — QB Taylor Martinez, IB Rex Burkhead; Defense — LB Will Compton, DT Baker Steinkuhler; Special teams — PK-P Brett Maher. Team MVP: Martinez. Offensive MVP: Martinez. Defensive MVP: Compton. Special teams MVP: Maher. Chamberlin Trophy: IB Rex Burkhead. Novak Trophy: LB Sean Fisher. Fischer Native Son Award: DT Baker Steinkuhler. Bobby Reynolds Award: Fisher.
Lifter of the year Award: IB Ameer Abdullah and C Justin Jackson. Walk-on of the year: DB Justin Blatchford. Offensive scout team MVP: OL Mike Moudy. Defensive scout team MVP: LB Thomas Brown. Character award: Compton, LB Alonzo Whaley, WR Quincy Enunwa, CB Andrew Green. Pat Clare Award: Jackson. Husker Heart Award: Graham Stoddard. Burnell Student Manager Scholarship: Matt Hager.
Cotton running practices
Because he continued to rehab from surgery, offensive line coach Barney Cotton hadn’t been recruiting on the road this fall. Graduate assistant Vince Marrow, who’s taken a full-time job at Kentucky, took his place. Cotton instead watched hours of film on Georgia’s defense and drew up alignments Nebraska might see from the Bulldogs.
He also scripted and ran all of the Huskers’ practices in coach Bo Pelini’s absence. Cotton, a former head coach Hastings College and offensive coordinator at various schools, said he liked getting back into that habit.
“Everything all drawn up,” Cotton said. “We don’t have to do the stuff we normally have to do on a Sunday. I was able to get all that stuff done. So we can watch the film without having to draw it up and we can move much, much quicker … it’s a labor of love. I enjoy that kind of stuff and being involved in the big picture.”
So what about that Georgia defense? Cotton said the Bulldogs are like many SEC defenses — athletic and fast. But Georgia’s also big in the interior of the defense.
“If they’re playing that five-man front, they’re playing two stand-up defensive ends and they can put 350, 360 and 300 pounds on those three inside guys,” Cotton said. “They’re a large front seven, and they’re athletic at linebacker.”
The star of the Bulldogs’ defense is hybrid end-linebacker Jarvis Jones, who has 12Ĺ sacks, 22Ĺ tackles for loss and seven forced fumbles. Cotton said Georgia finds a variety of uses for the senior, who’s expected to be a top-10 pick in the 2013 NFL draft.
“He’s going to line up on an open-side tackle or outside a tight end,” Cotton said. “And he’ll be a stand-up nickel guy in a third-down package. He’s definitely a guy where you need to know where he is at all times.”
Steinkuhler, Jackson out
Senior center Justin Jackson and senior defensive tackle Baker Steinkuhler will not play in the Capital One Bowl, Pelini said Friday.
Jackson (foot) and Steinkuhler (knee) were injured during Nebraska’s 13-7 win at Iowa on Nov. 22. Asked for a timetable regarding the players’ recovery process, Pelini said, “It’s going to be awhile.”
Pelini added that senior Rex Burkhead, who’s sustained three ligament sprains in his left knee this season, is practicing without a brace for the first time since suffering the injury in the season opener. “He’s ready to go,” Pelini said.
Long sees improvements
Spencer Long didn’t know earlier this week that he’d been selected as an Associated Press second-team All-American until he got a call of congratulations. He said Friday it was good to be recognized for his play; otherwise, he said, he had mostly shrugged off any awards for his play.
Long did think, however, that he had improved in 2012 over a solid sophomore campaign in 2011 because he was “less young” and more experienced. Long said his success should hopefully serve as an example to future walk-ons — as Long was out of Elkhorn — that their potential is greater than they think.
“If it’s not maximized in high school, you can really, really go a long way in college,” Long said.
Ex-pros back for diplomas
University of Nebraska graduation ceremonies Saturday will include 13 current Husker football players and two former ones who went off to long NFL careers.
The former Huskers set to receive diplomas are Eric Warfield (1995-97) and John Parrella (1990-92). Warfield (sociology) played nine NFL seasons, including eight with Kansas City. Parrella (child, youth and family studies) split his 12 NFL seasons between Buffalo, San Diego and Oakland.
Warfield currently is an intern on the Nebraska football staff.
Current NU players graduating will be Burkhead, Nick Ash, Taylor Dixon, KC Hyland, Micah Kreikemeier, Tim Marlowe, Conor McDermott, Cameron Meredith, Cole Pensick, Kyler Reed, Graham Stoddard, Alonzo Whaley and C.J. Zimmerer.