As the countdown to the beginning of Nebraska’s preseason camp continues, the Journal Star is counting down its annual list of the 30 Most Intriguing Huskers.
The list, as always, is not about the 30 best players or the 30 most important players, but is based instead purely on intrigue. We’ll cover breakout candidates, new faces, old heads and more. The list tends to skew toward youth and inexperience because, well, those types of players are intriguing. But there are more than a few regulars, too.
No. 7: C Cam Jurgens, so.
Jurgens ranks so highly on this list for a multitude of reasons, but they all boil down to this: There doesn’t seem to be much room in between the possible outcomes for his 2021 season.
The Beatrice native and now veteran center is either going to struggle to corral his snapping issues again, issues which not only put the Huskers at risk of turning the ball over but also cause a chain reaction of timing issues for the quarterback and the rest of the offense or he’s going to solve that wild streak once and for all, unlock the undeniable power and explosion and athleticism he possesses and turn into one of the most intriguing centers in the Big Ten and perhaps the country.
That’s not to say that nothing else matters besides Jurgens snapping the ball to Adrian Martinez’s hands, but if he does that, it likely means he’s in a good place mentally in processing the game and handling the Huskers’ calls and that he’s comfortable technique-wise. And if all of that is true, the 6-foot-3, 290-pounder has eye-popping potential.
You saw it at times last year, when he’d finish punishing blocks. You saw it this winter when he recorded a vertical leap of 34½ inches at 290 pounds. You see it in the eyes and hear it in the voices of his coaches and teammates when they talk about the player Jurgens can be.
“We’re still working on the command presence. Being the comptroller, if you will,” Austin said this spring. “Having control, having ultimate control of the offense and having ultimate control of, obviously, his emotions as it relates to getting and delivering the snap consistently. That’s a big deal."
If Jurgens is consistent and he is in command, the Husker offense will be in a much better place just on that progress alone. If he is a dynamic force in the middle of NU’s offensive line, it makes life easier on Ethan Piper, a young player himself, to his left and what will be a first-time starter to his right in either Matt Sichterman or Brant Banks.
— Parker Gabriel
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