DB Jamaal Brimmer

2003 Statistics

Coach: John Robinson
26-33, 5years
2003 Record: 6-6
at Kansas LOST 24-46
at Wisconsin WON 23-5
at Nevada WON 16-12
at Air Force LOST 7-24
at New Mexico WON 37-35
at Wyoming WON 35-24

2003 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2004 Outlook

UNLV began the season with such promise, starting 4-1, including an impressive road win at Wisconsin. After that, the offense died down, and the defense couldn't bear the weight of the whole team's needs. Though the Rebels ended up 6-6, three losses were decided by a TD or less. The difference between 6-6 and 9-3 is monumental, especially for a program like UNLV. Now John Robinson is on a bigger, hotter seat than ever, entering his sixth year with only one winning campaign.

This is the most talented team J-Rob has ever fielded here, and, aside from QB, there are no glaring weaknesses on the board. The Rebels return 45 lettermen (24 seniors) that include four first-team all-MWC honorees. The time is now to make a run. The odds would look in the Rebels' favor, if not for a challenging schedule. After starting on the road with Tennessee and Wisconsin, the Rebels later get MWC front-runners, BYU, Utah, Colorado St, and San Diego St all away from Sam Boyd Stadium.

The Mountain West Conference is continually growing in talent and popularity (even amongst BCS executives), yet UNLV seems to be stuck in the mud of routine. Progress comes from innovative schemes and modernized offensive attacks to go along with team speed. UNLV has caught up defensively, but on offense, the plan of run, run, throw on third-and-long just isn't cutting it anymore. Robinson has to wake up and realize this isn't USC anymore. Until a sound, steadfast QB arrives, UNLV will always be an "also-ran" in the MWC. Look for a two-QB system for the bulk of the year until either Steichen or Marcus Johnson is handed the full-time reigns by mid-season, for future preparations.

Once a QB emerges on offense, and the new receivers come to play, the Rebels could easily reel off eight, or even nine wins, and challenge for the MWC crown. "Ifs" don't win football games, though, and there are too many "buts" for us to believe this team wins more than six.

Projected 2004 record: 5-6
WR Earvin Johnson
QB - 2.5 DL - 2
RB - 2 LB - 3.5
WR - 3 DB - 3
OL - 2.5 ..

Passing: Kurt Nantkes, 323-167-10, 1883 yds., 12 TD

Rushing: Dominique Dorsey, 158 att., 626 yds., 1 TD

Receiving: Earvin Johnson, 60 rec., 834 yds., 4 TD

Scoring: Dyante Perkins, 9 TD, 54 pts.

Punting: Gary Cook, 83 punts, 43.4 avg.

Kicking: none

Tackles: Adam Seward, 119 tot., 67 solo

Sacks: Ryan Claridge, 5.5 sacks

Interceptions: Jamaal Brimmer, 6 for 186 yds., 1 TD

Kickoff returns: Dominique Dorsey, 18 ret., 19.5 avg., 0 TD

Punt returns: Tremayne Kirkland, 25 ret., 12.6 avg., 0 TD


OFFENSE: Larry Croom-RB, Michael Johnson-WR, Matt Williams-OT, Dominic Furio-C, Ryan Clifford-TE, Dillon Pieffer-K
DEFENSE: Chris Eagen-DE, Joe Oniwor-NT, Dietrich Canterberry-DE, Daniel Jones-CB

Senior Kurt Nantkes is on a mission. Not like those at BYU, but a personal mission…to play an entire season as the team's one and only QB. He has NFL size and a big arm, but lacks the (complete) mental game. Rising sophomore Shane Steichen stepped in and started the final three games while Nantkes healed from a groin injury, and has had the coaches' eyes ever since. Steichen has similar tools and better mobility than Nantkes. After taking most of the reps in spring ball, he looks in good position to eventually oust the senior from his post. John Robinson hasn't gotten consistent QB play since arriving in '99. It doesn't look like he'll get it this year, either, until he puts Steichen in for good.

Running Back
Boy, are the Rebels loaded here. Despite losing their leading rusher, UNLV has enough talent to carry one of the best rushing games in the conference. Dominique Dorsey will be one of the country's most improved players, capitalizing as a spot player. He's undersized, but extremely quick and powerful. Dyante Perkins, last year's starter at FB, has moved to TB and will see action in both spots. Our favorite to be the leader of this group is Ohio State-transfer JaJa Riley. Robinson has compared him to Eric Dickerson (a man he coached), due to his ability to glide and make people miss. And don't forget about Alvin Marshall, last year's prized recruit. The JUCO all-star sat out last year with a foot injury, but returns to add even more speed in the backfield. With the wealth of talent and potential in this area, though, we expect him to move to receiver (eventually), where depth and experience are lacking.

We won't say he's "magic", but the word does come to mind when you watch Earvin Johnson play. He's a big, physical receiver who knows how to go after a ball, and, somehow, bring it down. He never caught any less than four passes in a game last season, and is a serious all-American candidate. Once opponents find a way to match up with Johnson, though, things get look bad for the Rebels. Other than speed, there's not much that jumps out at you. Fresno State-transfer Terry Furlow gets the nod at the other spot, but keep an eye on RSF Marques Johnson and sophomore, Shelvion Williams. These guys will make serious some waves. Again, look for the speedster, Marshall, to see increased time on the flanks. The consistency of the QB will dictate how far this group goes.

Tight End and Offensive Line
Greg Estandia is an all-MWC performer with better-than-advertised speed. Since he caught 22 passes while treating a nagging injury, imagine what he can do when healthy. Michael Freund had a good spring and will be inserted when the Rebels line up in a two-TE formation. Robinson will take advantage of this athletic group of players by throwing more their way than in past years. In the process, it will draw some of the attention away from Johnson.

The O-line returns three, but some shuffling went on in the off-season. Marco Guerra moved from guard to tackle, a place where Robinson feels this rising star will fit right in. For being so large, he's very nimble and quick on his feet. Marcus Johnson moves from guard to center to help solidify the middle of that line, and a couple of strong JUCO-imports will compete for starting spots. Robinson is a bit worried about how quickly this new-look line will take shape. They did an admirable job of protecting the QB last year (19 sacks given up), but the remodeling suggests they won't improve that number. It'll take some time, but, barring injury, they'll be okay.

Bruce Snyder (yes, the Bruce Snyder) was promoted to offensive coordinator, but the offense (for the most part) remains the same. Speed is readily available here, but that speed must be focused if they're to improve. One of the QBs, Nantkes or Steichen, has to control the starting job early, or the entire group will suffer through an identity crisis. Robinson seems to be in favor of using both players, but we advise against it. Don't expect much improvement from last year's average of 175 yards per game passing (95th nationally), due to the uncertainty at QB and at receiver. A harmless passing game will ultimately allow foes to neutralize the run attack, and the scoring numbers (21 ppg) won't improve, either. The bottom line here is that it will be another so-so year for the offense.


OT Marco Guerra


Returning Starters in bold
QB Kurt Nantkes-Sr (6-4, 225) Shane Steichen-So (6-3, 180)
FB Chad Henley-Jr (6-1, 250) Mike Frazier-Sr (6-0, 220)
TB Dominique Dorsey-Sr (5-7, 165) Dyante Perkins-Sr (6-0, 235)
JaJa Riley-Jr (6-2, 210)
WR Terry Furlow-Jr (6-0, 190) Donell Wheaton-So (6-0, 185)
WR Earvin Johnson-Sr (6-3, 200) Tremayne Kirkland-So (6-0, 165)
TE Greg Estandia-Sr (6-8, 250) Michael Freund-Jr (6-2, 240)
OT Marco Guerra-So (6-5, 330) Marcus Bryan-So (6-4, 295)
OG Joe Critchfield-Sr (6-4, 315) Brandon Gray-So (6-4, 320)
C Marcus Johnson-Sr (6-1, 300) Tim Goins-Fr (6-4, 280)
OG Zach Gorham-Jr (6-5, 310) Aaron Mueller-So (6-2, 285)
OT Tyler Crandal-Sr (6-7, 285) Chris Bowser-So (6-6, 280)
K Sergio Aguayo-Fr (6-1, 195) Hubi Schulze Zumkley-So (6-3, 235)



Defensive Line
There are many new faces to choose from to plug all three defensive line spots. Leon Moore returns with the most experience (four starts), and gives the Rebels a quick rush end. He's especially good at dropping into coverage. He had six PBUs, which was good for tops on the team, but a bad omen for things to come if a DE is the top pass disrupter. Howie Fuimaono gives them a big body to plug the run gaps in the middle. After that, the pickin's are slim. Overall, this is a relatively small group of players, but athleticism helps make up for their lack of size.

You won't find a better group of linebackers in the Mountain West. The ferocious foursome returns to Las Vegas, being billed as the strongest unit in school history. The switch to the 3-4 system has helped turn these guys loose and fostered productive seasons from each. They combine intimidating size and sculpture, athleticism and tenacity. Like we said, ferocious. Seward is a two-time all-MWC pick, who's totaled 312 tackles in three years. Claridge is a near clone of Seward, mimicking his likeness to create fits for opposing blockers and ball carriers. Butler and Andrews are on a slightly lower level (talent-wise) than the other two, but are equally as important to this defensive machine. Clearly, the corps as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Defensive Back
Jamaal Brimmer is UNLV's first returning all-American since 1984 (Randall Cunningham). The young man can flat out play. In the last two years, he's produced three (defensive) TDs, 27 TFLs, and 9.5 sacks- as a safety! He's the reigning, two-time MWC defensive player of the year, and he'll have no trouble vying for that honor again. Teaming with him is hard-hitting Joe Miklos. A converted linebacker, Miklos played with some reservation after switching positions. Now, with a better grip on his role, and with an excellent supporting cast, his performance will be even better than last year. Ruschard Dodd-Masters is a shutdown corner who has really come into his own. He'll force opposing teams to throw over to the new corner's side, thus bringing him up to speed in a quick period of time. Last year's poor pass defense totals (239 ypg, 7th in the MWC) reflected a transition year. They are now experienced and conditioned. With three possible all-MWC candidates, opposing teams won't be able to throw deep (if at all). As long as their health remains in tact, this will be one of the best secondary units in the country.

UNLV played with increased aggression, causing 35 turnovers and scoring five defensive TDs. Their +12 TO margin was good enough for seventh in the country. But unfortunately, the offense rarely cashed in on the defense's production. The switch to a 3-4 scheme took advantage of their team speed and forced opposing offenses to beat them through the air. Trouble was, teams eventually did beat them through the air, averaging 239 yards a game, and completing 58 percent of their passes. While the pass defense will be stronger, it is the run defense that is suspect. The coaching staff has spent the past two recruiting seasons emphasizing defense, so prospects here look good. The key to success will be the new front. Once they cement and can start holding their ground, this will be one of the conference's top sets.


LB Adam Seward


Returning Starters in bold
DE Pete Dunbar-Sr (6-4, 260) Brian Nicholson-Sr (6-5, 275)
DT Howie Fulmaono-So (6-0, 325) Isaiah Tafua-Jr (6-2, 275)
DE Leon Moore-Jr (6-5, 270) Isaac Watts-Jr (6-2, 260)
Mario Hill-Jr (6-2, 260)
OLB Reggie Butler-Sr (6-0, 225) Mike Tinoisamoa-Sr (6-0, 230)
ILB Adam Seward-Sr (6-2, 250) Terrence Young-Sr (5-10, 235)
ILB Ryan Claridge-Sr (6-4, 250) Zach Bell-Sr (6-2, 230)
OLB John Andrews-Sr (6-0, 210) Ryan Welter-Fr (6-4, 230)
Bobby Kelly-Jr (6-2, 210)
CB Ruschard Dodd-Masters-Sr (6-0, 180) Shannon Nowden-So (5-11, 175)
CB Ernest Gordon-So (6-0, 170) Charles Ealy-Jr (5-11, 205)
SS Jamaal Brimmer-Sr (6-1, 215) Jay Staggs-So (6-0, 215)
FS Joe Miklos-Jr (6-2, 205) Will Tagoai-Sr (6-3, 205)
P Gary Cook-Sr (6-1, 200) ..




Two kickers will continue to battle for the placement honors. Hubi Schulze Zumkley, a former German soldier, is bigger and has a slightly stronger leg than Aguayo. Whoever wins the job (our bet is the former), will have the luxury of an experienced holder and snapper. Defensive depth will bring down the kick coverage numbers.

UNLV carries a strong tradition punting the ball. Gary Cook is the next on the list of famous ball-drivers. A former walk-on, Cook punted a school record 83 times last year. That repetition helped boost his average to 43 yards per kick. He'll be a Ray Guy finalist come November.

Return Game
Sophomore Tremayne Kirkland ranked 17th nationally in punt returns (tops in MWC) and is a dangerous weapon in the field position game. Dominique Dorsey came on late last season and gives hope for better KR numbers (than merely 16 per). Alvin Marshall should help in this area, too.