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Huskers add depth to offensive line

Arguably the strongest position group Nebraska recruited, the offensive line class didn't fully come together until late. The Huskers landed three commitments from linemen in the final few weeks of the recruiting cycle to finish with five total in the class.

Matt Finnin will be expected to make an early impact.

Offensive coordinator Tim Beck said Nebraska's success late with linemen is a big reason why he's happy with the class the team assembled. He especially enjoyed how most of the offensive staff was involved in bringing the linemen aboard. It became a post-bowl game priority for the offense.

"I love it. Again, the whole staff did a great job of recruiting those guys," Beck said. "We earmarked them and were kind of recruiting them and we knew about them, we were on them right after the break and got out to see them right away." 

Prior to the offseason Nebraska hadn't pursued much in terms of JUCO help along the line. After the bowl game, NU decided it needed to bring in a few veterans to help push the line going forward.

"We tried to get an older inside guy, an older outside guy to keep things alive in our room so they don't get stale," Beck said. "We have a chance to be pretty good offensively and we need to keep pushing each other and creating competition so guys improve."

Here's a closer look at the offensive line group of the 2013 class:

Matt Finnin - This JUCO lineman developed a quick rapport with Husker assistant John Garrison. The two hung out at a Jimmy Johns for multiple hours during Garrison's first in-home visit. During coach Bo Pelini's in-home visit, Finnin and his family hosted the staff for hours, talking about everything besides football. He would commit to Nebraska days later on his visit.

Finnin gives the Huskers a high-level talent at the tackle position. He's an impressive sized offensive linemen, but also has the foot speed to get out in front on run blocks and make things happen.

Look for the Huskers to work Finnin into the rotation early. His pass block skills make him an attractive left tackle.

Zach Hannon quietly stayed committed to Nebraska from August through signing day.

Zach Hannon - Hannon committed long before anyone else in Nebraska's line group. The athletic lineman slots in well as a guard. He has the size, strength and even athleticism to really cause problems on sweeps and other outside run plays.

The lineman dominated his area of Missouri and chose Nebraska over several other teams. His lacrosse background is a nice touch and will help him going forward in terms of footwork and foot speed.

Hannon is a nice pickup because of his potential and it's another indication that the Huskers are going to spend more time scouring the Kansas City area. 

Dwayne Johnson - The versatile lineman was the last to join the class, choosing the Huskers over Arkansas days before signing day. It was a big recruiting win for Nebraska as it gave the Huskers a utility player who can learn all five spots on the line.

Johnson played center and tackle in high school. He has the quickness and the tenacity to play the center position, but also has the length and size to play tackle. He has a good mean streak and likes to finish as many blocks as possible on the ground.

Look for Johnson to start out in a spot where he can best help the team's depth. He might bounce around a bit, but is a sleeper in this group.

David Knevel - Knevel chose Nebraska in December over Alabama and a host of other schools. The Canadian offensive lineman developed a great relationship with the staff and is depending on Barney Cotton and John Garrison to help develop him.

The 6-foot-9 tackle has a very raw skill set, but is blessed with a huge frame. He'll need time to develop but could blossom into an elite level pass blocker. 

Knevel has been on campus for several weeks and has already begun to make strides. He's put on weight and is now over 300 pounds. Keep an eye on him during spring practices.

Chongo Kondolo - Perhaps the biggest unknown of the group, Kondolo is not without talent. The Fresno Community College product has the ability to play at the college level, he's just currently without a position.

Don't be surprised if Nebraska starts him off as a center this summer and then looks to see if he's a better fit as a guard.

"We're going to look at him as both," Beck said. "He's an inside guy. I think he'd be a tremendous center because he can run, but we'll see."

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