We’re taking a look at the most exciting player on each Big Ten team, meaning we’re looking for a guy who is either so talented or so productive (or both) that it’s hard to take your eyes off him during a game.
Up next: Nebraska Cornhuskers
Most exciting player: WR Jordan Westerkamp
If you’ve watched Nebraska play recently, this pick likely doesn’t need an explanation. If you haven’t? Boy, have you missed out on some truly special plays.
There was Westerkamp's miracle Hail Mary catch in 2013, his behind-the-back reception in 2014 and his too-many-broken-tackles-to-count play in 2015. He’s fast, elusive, and on the cusp of breaking school records for both career receptions and receiving yards. He had 65 catches for 918 yards in 2015, and he needs 52 more catches for 741 yards to surpass current leader Kenny Bell.
But maybe you need less anecdotal evidence/record talk and more hard data backing up just how truly unique Westerkamp is. Fair enough. Well, on passes that traveled at least 20 yards in the air last season, Westerkamp caught 13 of 23 targets (56.5 percent catch rate) and didn’t commit a single drop. The Power 5 average? Catching 35.1 percent of those passes and dropping 4.7 percent of the potential receptions. Westerkamp was one of just six receivers in the Power 5 who caught at least 10 such throws without committing a drop.
Westerkamp has already established himself as a human highlight reel. And his penchant for the big play has already impressed the Nebraska staff. Receivers coach Keith Williams might have explained it best:
“On a poorly thrown or underthrown ball, some guys lose focus,” Williams told ESPN.com. “They realize it’s going to be tough. When that happens to Westy, he actually becomes more focused.