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Who will step up at running back?

As we approach the start of Fall Camp for Nebraska, we take an inside look at each position group for the Huskers.

Today we take a deep dive into the quarterback position, which will again be led by Adrian Martinez. How far can he carry NU in 2021?

Going into spring practices, most had already penciled in USC transfer Markese Stepp as the projected starting running back.

But Stepp hardly saw the practice field after needing surgery on a pre-existing foot injury. That opened the door wide open for Nebraska’s other backs to make their case going into the summer.

The players who arguably made the most of that opportunity were returning freshman Marvin Scott III, true freshman Gabe Ervin, and spring surprise Jaquez Yant.

Both were by far the most available and consistent performers during spring ball and capped that with strong showings in the spring game.

Yant, a former walk-on, came out of nowhere and played so well during spring ball that he earned himself a scholarship for the 2021 season.

Rahmir Johnson is NU’s next most experienced running back, but he too missed the spring with an injury. Sevion Morrison, who missed all of last season, had some flashes in the spring, but he remains a major unknown.

With Stepp, Johnson, and Morrison all presumably ready to return to action, the competition for the starting job will start all over again during fall camp. With the new rules, that battle will also play out with just eight full-pads practices before the first game week.

As of today, though, it feels like Scott and Ervin (and maybe Yant) will come in with a leg up over the others.

As mentioned, availability was a big issue for Nebraska’s running backs this spring and all of last season.

No back played in more than six of NU’s eight games in 2020, with Dedrick Mills’ 287 snaps on the year standing as more than 200 than any other player at the position (Scott was second at 82).

Injuries and illness kept the Huskers’ backfield as a revolving door all year, and that unfortunately continued into spring ball with everyone besides Ervin and Yant missing relatively extended practice time.

While there seems to be plenty of potential in the group, Nebraska desperately needs some level of stability at running back.

That doesn’t necessarily mean a bell-cow back has to emerge, but having 2-3 guys available every week would be a welcomed luxury.

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