June 4, 2011

Five things to watch at the Nebraska Shrine Bowl

When the 2011 Nebraska Shrine Bowl kicks off later tonight, a total of 11 future Huskers and a slew of other college football commits will be playing in their final high school game ever.

For those who plan on going to Memorial Stadium for the game or to watch it on NET at 6:30 p.m., here are five things to watch in the latest edition of Nebraska's annual high school football all-star game.

Broekemeier's first audition

No player has garnered more hype over the course of the week than Aurora and South team quarterback Tyson Broekemeier. By putting on dazzling performances in practice all week, the Nebraska walk-on looks ready to put on his first big show inside Memorial Stadium as an official future Husker.

In particular, it's been Broekemeier's pinpoint accuracy on a wide range of passes that have been the most impressive and - for those who hadn't seen him play much before - surprising aspect of his game.

While he'll come to Nebraska as a walk-on, the Huskers' lack of depth at the quarterback position makes Broekemeier an interesting addition to the unit this fall. The Huskers only have two scholarship QBs on their roster at the moment, and if Broekemeier can continue his impressive play at the next level, there's no reason he can't work his into the mix at some point.

The North's Big Red o-line

When the North team's offense takes the field for the first time, it will be led by a trio of future Nebraska walk-on offensive linemen in Lincoln Northeast's Will Sailors, Blair's Chris Long and Elkhorn's Aaron Hayes.

The three have been lining up next to each other all week in practice, and at an average of size of 6-4, 260, they provide a formidable offensive front for a North team loaded with talented running backs.

If the North has one clear advantage over the South, it's their size up front. With three future Huskers paving the way, don't be surprised at all if North coach Mark Waller takes full advantage of that luxury.

Players on both sides looking to prove themselves

While several players in Shrine Bowl received plenty of attention from colleges around the Midwest, there are a few that will be playing with a bit of a chip on their shoulders as a result of being slighted on the recruiting trail.

Two in particular are Omaha Burke running back Jimmie Forsythe and Omaha Central defensive end Eddie Vinson of the South team. All Forsythe, who committed to South Dakota State, did was lead the state in rushing, yet he didn't receive a single Division-I offer.

Vinson was ignored even more, as despite being one of the most dominant defensive players on the South roster all week in practice, the 6-3, 230, defensive end who ran a 4.60 40-yard dash received just one scholarship offer - to Iowa Western Community College.

Definitely look for those two and likely a few others to come out tonight looking to show everyone what they missed out on.

How will Sutton fit in the South offense?

Another marquee player of sorts in tonight's game is Lincoln Southeast tight end and Nebraska commit David Sutton. However, there are still some questions about just how he will fit Aurora's spread offense under South coach Randy Huebert.

As a 6-foot-4, 245-pound tight end, Sutton doesn't exactly fit the mold of the speedy split end or the shifty slot receiver normally used in Aurora's style of offense. So how do you get one of your better offensive players the ball in an offense that doesn't exactly cater to his skill set?

There's no doubt Huebert and the rest of the South coaching staff have already thought of a few ways to get Sutton involved, but still look to see just how they use one of the game's only two Nebraska commits on the offensive side of the ball.

Daniel Davie vs. Devin Bass

By the end of Thursday's Shrine Bowl media day, the game itself got a lot more interesting after players from both teams traded a little smack talk.

It all started when Beatrice receiver and Nebraska commit Daniel Davie, who's playing for the South team, said the South would "dominate" the North and then went as far as to predicted his squad would "win by two touchdowns easily."

As you could imagine, those bold claims didn't go over so well with the North team. Millard North defensive back Devin Bass, who committed to Ohio, didn't waste any time coming right back at Davie and challenging him to a little one-on-one battle of their own.

"If I'm covering him, he won't score," Bass said. "You can print that."

Needless to say, keep a close eye on the Davie vs. Bass match-up tonight. There are some serious bragging rights on the line.

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