Nebraska cornerback Alfonzo Dennard was rated by some scouts as the elite senior prospect in the country heading into the 2011 season.
He won't be able to maintain that lofty grade if he doesn't recover soon from the pulled leg muscle that has kept him out of the first two games.
Dennard pulled the muscle in mid August and despite head coach Bo Pelini characterizing his star cornerback as "getting a lot closer" last week, Dennard did not play in Nebraska's victory Saturday over Fresno State.
Dennard, according to a report from Husker Extra, will not practice Monday. His status for Nebraska's first real test this weekend against the University of Washington is once again in doubt.
Asked if Dennard would be able to suit up against a Washington team that upset Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl, Pelini was noncommittal, offering only a "We'll see."
Steve Sipple, the author of the article for Husker Extra predicted that Dennard would sit Saturday.
Dennard, a shade under 5-10 at 205 pounds, boasts a terrific combination of agility, speed, instincts and physicality when healthy. He earned All Big-12 accolades last season with 30 tackles, seven passes broken up and four interceptions -- including one against Washington in their first meeting last year.
Dennard is NFLDraftScout.com's top-rated senior cornerback and currently ranks No. 8 on my Big Board.
The Nebraska defense has been a stifling one throughout much of Pelini's tenure, but the unit struggled, at times, last week against a typically feisty Fresno State team. The Bulldogs, known for their head coach Pat Hill's mantra of playing "Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere" led at the half 17-14 and was down only 28-26 early in the fourth quarter before Nebraska pulled away with a big kick return and run to extend their lead and make the game appear lopsided. Fresno entered the contest a four touchdown underdog.
Washington, on the other hand, has demonstrated a surprisingly efficient offense given the graduation of Jake Locker to the NFL. True sophomore quarterback Keith Price has actually been a statistical upgrade over Locker thus far, completing 70% of his passes with seven touchdowns against only one interception. Of course, these numbers were posted at home against Eastern Washington and Hawaii.