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Nebraska Football Position Breakdown: Linebackers

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NCAA Football: Michigan State at Nebraska Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Coaches

Jovann Dewitt - OLB Coach

Barrett Rudd - ILB Coach

Inside Linebackers - 2018

On Roster in 2018 Based Off of Huskers.com: Mohamed Barry, Will Honas, Grant Jordan, Spencer Jordan, Jacob Weinmaster, Dedrick Young, Jake Archer, Anthony Banderas and Chris Cassidy

Contributors in 2018:

a) Mohamed Barry: Defensive Team MVP, 3rd Team All-Big Ten (Media), Honorable-Mention All-Big Ten (Coaches). Started all 12 games in 2018 and led Nebraska with 112 tackles as a junior. He ranked second in the Big Ten and 38th nationally with an average of 9.3 tackles per game. The most tackles by a Husker since Lavonte David in 2011.

b) Will Honas: Played in four games before suffering a season-ending injury. Honas actually finished with a team high 8 tackles against Troy.

c) Jacob Weinmaster: Had a career-high 13 tackles on the season, including 8 on special teams. Was known as one of the best special teams performers on the team. He was put on scholarship before his junior year, but was injured later in 2018. Weinmaster has since medically retired from football

d) Dedrick Young: Completed his senior season by registering 83 tackles in 2018 which was a career high. First player in Nebraska history to have four 60-tackle seasons. Young finished his career with 284 tackles, which is the fifth-highest total in Nebraska history.

Outside Linebackers - 2018

On Roster in 2018 based Off of Huskers.com: Quayshon Alexander, David Alston, Alex Davis, Breon Dixon, Tyrin Ferguson, Luke Gifford, Pernell Jefferson, Joseph Johnson, Collin miller, Simon Otte, Jordan Paup and Caleb Tannor

Contributors in 2018:

a) Alex Davis: Played in all 12 games and started against Wisconsin, Minnesota, Bethune-Cookman and Michigan State. Had five total tackles on the season.

b) Breon Dixon: Appeared on special teams in each of the final four games. He recorded his lone tackle of the season with a solo stop on kickoff coverage at Iowa.

c) Tyrin Ferguson: Because of injuries he was limited to just eight games and four starts. He had a total of 36 tackles. Six of those tackles were for a loss with one sack.

d) Luke Gifford: Started all 12 games as a senior. He recorded 62 tackles in 2018 with 13 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks. The 5.5 sacks was tied for most by a Nebraska linebacker since 2005. He was a honorable-mention All-Big Ten (Coaches and Media) in 2018.*

e) Collin Miller: Contributed on both defense and special teams. Finished the season with 17 tackles.**

f) Caleb Tannor: Appeared in all 12 games a true-freshman. Played on both special teams and defense and accumulated 10 tackles in 2018. He had one sack against Illinois.

g) Guy Thomas: Appeared in four games as a red-shirt freshman and had 4 tackles in 2018. Thomas has decided to transfer from Nebraska.

*I wrote two seasons ago that Gifford would be all-conference before he graduated. Does honorable-mention count? Pretty happy for him.

**I am aware that Collin Miller played ILB toward the end of the year. But I’m going with what Huskers.com had him as.

(SIREN SOUNDS) INCOMING for 2019:

Jackson Hannah - 4 star LB - Other Offers: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, LSU

Nick Henrich - 4 star LB - Other Offers: Wisconsin, Notre Dame, Florida, Iowa, LSU

Garret Nelson - 3 star LB - Offer Offers: South Dakota, South Dakota State

Garret Snodgrass - 3 star LB - Other Offers: South Dakota, South Dakota State

Outlook for 2019 and Beyond: I am very excited about this entire group. The film I liked the most was Nick Henrich but Jackson Hannah looks like he could end up being the best of the bunch. Do not sleep on the other two native Nebraskans. The two Garret’s have a ton of potential and would likely have had more interest from other teams like Iowa and Wisconsin if those schools even thought they had a chance to beat Nebraska for them.

Summary - Inside Linebackers

Some Nebraska fans were not sorry to see Dedrick Young graduate. Lets slow down. When he walked out that door there went a ton of experience. He started all four years at Nebraska and did his job. Nebraska will miss his experience.

One of my favorite current Huskers is Mohamed Barry. He plays with an edge and from what I have heard he is a great leader in the locker room. He might not be universally liked by all his teammates, but that is likely a good thing. He likely will take another step up in production with a second year in the same system.

Will Honas looked to be a great get after both Iowa and Wisconsin went hard after the junior college recruit. However the injury really hurt the depth of inside linebacker crew. He looked like he was started to get up to speed of the game and then the injury hit. If he is able to stay healthy in 2019, the duo of him and Barry will be key going forward.

With the medical retirement of Jacob Weinmaster should not go unnoticed. Against Iowa he was the backup inside linebacker behind Barry. Hopefully the move of Collin Miller to ILB will help.

Which leaves us to those four incoming freshman. At this point I doubt that Nick Henrich will play more than four games in 2019. I think he could put on a little more weight. Jackson Hannah looks like he could be ready to play right away but we will see. Snodgrass and Nelson are probably couple seasons away but I am willing to be proved wrong.

Summary - Outside Linebackers

The defense will feel the loss of Luke Gifford. He was a great senior leader. The emergency of Tryin Ferguson toward the end of the season was great. I think the pair of Ferguson and Caleb Tannor going forward could be big for our defense.

Besides defensive tackle, the outside linebacker position might be the most important position on the defense because you need somebody who can do a variety of things like rush the passer, play the run and defend the pass. Sounds like a tough job to me.

The move of JoJo Domann to outside linebacker looks like a great move. He showed great ability to do all three things as the outside linebacker.

Alex Davis appears to get lost in this discussion even though he started four games last year according to Huskers.com. Somehow he only had five tackles in 2018.

The wildcard is Breon Dixon. The Ole Miss transfer redshirted last year for various reasons but still played in the last four games of the season. That should bode well going into 2019.

Depth at the OLB position appears to be a concern going forward. Maybe Jackson Hannah gets moved to that position in order to provide more depth.