Cross enters spring ball sleeker

Imani Cross

It's an important spring for sophomore running back Imani Cross and the Georgia product looked sleeker and quicker on the first day of practices.

LINCOLN, Neb. - With two talented freshman coming in during the summer and Braylon Heard gone, Nebraska sophomore Imani Cross will have the most eyes on him at the running back spot this spring.

Cross is currently No. 2 on the depth chart behind junior Ameer Abdullah, but the Nebraska coaching staff wants to get a good look at the Georgia product, in order to see what they have in the second-year player.

On Saturday, Cross looked sleeker and effective in both up the middle runs and in the option game.

"He (Imani) played around 230 (lbs.) last year and I think he is weighing around 220 now." Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini said after practice, " I want to evaluate how he is going to feel playing at the weight. He's a big guy without a lot of body fat."

Cross carried the ball 55 times in 2012, rushing for 324 yards with seven touchdowns, including two apiece against Penn State and Minnesota.

Cross was often the last one off the field during practices in 2012. Both teammates and coaches multiple times cited his work ethic last fall.

"I believe it's important (his extra work) because I don't believe I'm at where I need to be at," Cross told reporters in December. "I feel there are a lot of things I need to work on and continue to get better at. Having better footwork, having my hips low, keeping a good base. Hand eye coordination catching the football, making sure my nose is over my toes when I'm running routes. Just working on the fundamentals because I want to be an all-around football player."

He will get to a chance to show this spring if he is moving in the right direction of becoming a complete football player.

Josh Harvey has covered college football and recruiting for Fox Sports & Scout.com since 2008. He is now the Publisher of Big Red Report, covering Nebraska athletics.
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