Ameer Abdullah in Rare Territory
When you glance at some of the statistics accumulated by Rex Burkhead in his time at Nebraska, you almost wonder if the affection for him is out of proportion to his achievements. Until you look at one statistic - touchdowns. Only a handful of players in Husker history have gotten in the end zone more times than Burkhead. They are Eric Crouch, Mike Rozier, Ahman Green, Johnny Rodgers, Calvin Jones, and Tommie Frazier. That's three Heisman winners (and what should have been a fourth) and two second-team All-Americans who headed early to the NFL. Guess who's ahead of Burkhead's scoring pace heading into his junior year?
If you guessed Taylor Martinez, you'd be right. If you guessed Ameer Abdullah, you'd also be right. With 31 career touchdowns in three seasons, Martinez is on pace to top Burkhead and Frazier. Abdullah's 15 career touchdowns after two seasons put him ahead of Burkhead's 11 after his sophomore campaign. If Abdullah were to duplicate his own production as a sophomore, he'd tally another 22 touchdowns over the next two seasons. That would push him past Burkhead and Frazier as well. That would be no small feat since Abdullah's sophomore season is the sixth best ever rushing season at Nebraska. Duplicating such a season twice over would also make him the third most prolific rusher in NU history behind only Rozier and Green.
That's the real trick. As Burkhead learned a year ago, it's hard to maintain your productivity as a starting running back. Getting hit so often takes its toll. For that matter, it could be Imani Cross to consider as a force for the future. His rookie campaign was one of the ten best ever by a true freshman. With more opportunities, he could find himself in the end zone a lot. He managed a touchdown for every 8 carries. Imagine what that might mean after 400 or so. For that matter, Terrell Newby and/or Adam Taylor could be poised for great things as freshmen themselves.
So nothing can be taken for granted where Abdullah is concerned. Still, he's shown that he's got the tools to have a rare and special career at Nebraska. Hopefully, he can stay healthy enough for that to happen.