Can Nebraska RB Rex Burkhead win the Big 10 Silver Football?

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Perhaps the position with the most tradition at Nebraska is tailback. The starter this fall is Rex Burkhead, a senior who’s been inspired by some of the past greats in Lincoln.

“Roy (Helu) last year, he was a guy I looked up to quite a bit. He was a great player, but also a great person. Seeing how he went about his business, and his daily routine,” Burkhead said.

“I loved watching Ahman Green when he was there, I had a lot of great respect for the way he ran, and I try to mimic him in certain ways,” he continued.

And just as Burkhead was inspired by NU running backs past, he now leads by example for future Husker halfbacks.

For a piece on Burkhead’s backfield mate, QB Taylor Martinez, go here

Huskers Running Backs Coach Ron Brown described Burkhead’s leadership qualities to Huskers.com

The thing that makes Rex really special is he has a deep desire to improve. He knows he has to improve in a number of areas. He’s not satisfied and ultimately that’s what I want him to focus on so he can permeate the rest of the running backs. I want the running back room to have the inquisitive mind and a desire to learn just like Rex does.

When you’re hungry and aren’t settling for anything less than your best,   then you have a special room. I think Rex will help permeate that not only with our running backs but with our whole offense. Rex is a servant leader. He believes there’s room for him to grow, and he’s leading from the bottom up.

The link is a great piece on Burkhead’s extraordinary work ethic; detailing how there is an actual concern he might actually over-train this fall camp. Rex knows what he needs to do to step his game up.

“Make quicker decisions. Just be able to make reads quicker, and see holes and other things develop faster,” he said.

Burkead was the team’s second leading rusher as a freshman, and had a very productive sophomore season. An All-Big 12 Honorable Mention, he finished just 49 yards shy of a 1,000 yard season. He was prolific as a junior as well.

Burkhead’s role increased in the final six games of 2010 after Martinez suffered an ankle injury. At Iowa State, Burkhead took a number of snaps out of the Wildcat and rushed 20 times for a career-high 129 yards and two touchdowns. He capped his effort with a 19-yard touchdown in overtime as NU escaped with a 31-30 win. He even threw a touchdown pass last season.

Burkhead knows his experience is one of his biggest strengths.

“I got two years under my belt, and I think it will help me out this year,” he said.

Rex started two games in 2010; but he’ll be the primary featured back this fall just like he was in 2011. And he’ll no doubt set an example for those who assume his position after his time with the program is done.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site that generates millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports 

He does regular weekly radio spots in Chicago and Cleveland and has appeared on live shows all across the world from Houston to New Zealand. You can follow him on Twitter

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