Position: Running Back
Height/Weight: 5-foot-11, 210 pounds
High School: Plano Senior High (Tex.)
After splitting carries with Roy Helu Jr. his freshman and sophomore year, Rex Burkhead, AKA Superman, became the Huskers’ workhorse in 2011; starting every game and helping Nebraska finish in the top 20 nationally in rushing yards.
As a junior, he recorded seven 100-yard rushing games, including a career-high 170 yards and two touchdowns on just 15 carries against Wyoming.
He ended the season with 1,357 yards, and 15 touchdowns, in the process becoming only the 26th Husker to have 2,000 yards in his career.
He also got more involved in the passing game than in years past, catching 21 balls for 177 yards and two scores.
His efforts earned him First-Team All-Big Ten honors (Coaches, Media, ESPN, Phil Steele).
Burkhead starts off the 2012 season by being named as a first team All-Big Ten by Phil Steele, and by being named to the Doak Walker Award watch list.
“I expect a big year out of Rex,” Pelini told the Big Ten Network in the spring. “And I think what will make him better is the development of the guys behind him. I think we are going to be able to rest him more, I think we are going to give him the opportunity to not have to shoulder as big a load as he did last year.”
With the development of players like Ameer Abdullah in the backfield and the progression of a young wide receiver group, expect Burkhead’s work load to diminish some, but have more rest, possibly leaving him more fresh.
“I think we need to be more 50-50,” said Pelini. “I think we need to throw the football more and take advantage of what is happening, and in the end I think that will make him better.”
Burkhead enters the 2012 season with 2,654 career rushing yards, which places him at 12th in school history. He is poised to take the number two spot, which is currently held by Ahman Green with 3,880 yards, if he just rushes for 1,226 yards.
How he ended up in Lincoln:
Burkhead was a standout performer at Plano High School, rushing for 1,762 yards and 28 touchdowns as a senior. He also caught 42 passes 594 yards and five touchdowns.
The running back was named an AP first-team Class 5A all state selection, and was a All-Area Offensive Player of the Year by the Dallas Morning News.
He chose Nebraska after also visiting Texas A&M, and receiving offers from dozens of other BCS schools.
- Josh Harvey -