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Nebraska Football Position Breakdown: Defensive Line

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Strength, depth and talent should all improve on the D-line in 2019. This group could be dangerous. Yes, I’m talking about the Husker defense.

NCAA Football: Nebraska at Ohio State
In 2019, Ben may become the first player in Husker history to sack a QB with an RKO
Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Note: For the first time in four years, the Husker defense will not have a new coordinator and for the second year in row, strength & conditioning is no longer optional as it was the previous three. I’m a sarcastic prick - people know this - and I’m getting my hopes up.

Coach – Mike Dawson

Defensive Line – 2018

On Roster in 2018, Based Off of Huskers.com: Freedom Akinmoladun, *Fyn Anderson, *Damion Daniels, *Carlos Davis, *Khalil Davis, *Colton Feist, *Damian Jackson, Matt Jarzynka, *Ben Lingenfelter, *DaiShon Neal, Peyton Newell, *Casey Rogers, *Ryan Schommer, *Ben Stille, Mick Stoltenberg, *Deontre Thomas, *Vaha Vainku, *Chris Walker, *Tate Wildman

(* - denotes returning player)


Contributors in 2018:

a) Khalil Davis – Despite not starting a game, Davis was the Huskers Defensive Lineman of the Year and Honorable Mention All Big 10 totaling 41 tackles

Nebraska v Purdue Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images

b) Freedom Akinmoladun – Freedom started all 12 games in his senior season and with 41 for his career. He had 29 tackles in 2018 and set a Big Ten for most times name mispronounced in a game, season & career.

c) Carlos Davis – Carlos was also named Honorable Mention All Big 10 and played in all 12 games, starting 9, and totaling 27 tackles.

d) Ben Stille – Stille started 11 of the 12 games he played in and totaled 25 tackles including 5 sacks, good for second best on the team

e) Damion Daniels – Daniels played in all 12 games and totaled 12 tackles for the season

f) Mick Stoltenberg – Stoltenberg played in 8 games starting 4 to complete a senior season and career plagued by injuries.

g) Peyton Newell – Newell completed his senior season by playing in all 12 games and notching 5 tackles


(SIREN SOUNDS) INCOMING for 2019:

Ty Robinson – DE - **** - Ranked #7 nationally at his position, Robinson was one of the jewels of the 2019 recruiting class with a 4-star rating and finished #91 overall in the Rivals100. He participated in the Army All-American Bowl – Huskers beat out Alabama, USC & Oregon

Garrett Nelson – DE - *** - from Scottsbluff, ranked #3 in Nebraska – beat out South Dakota & South Dakota St

Mosai Newsome – DE - *** - #3 rated prospect in Iowa – beat out Iowa, Michigan St, Minnesota & Northwestern

Jamin Graham – DE - *** - #28 rated recruit in Alabama – beat out Auburn, Louisville, Ole Miss & South Carolina

Ethan Piper – DT - *** - from Norfolk, ranked #5 in Nebraska – beat out Iowa, South Dakota & Ohio U

Darrion Daniels – DT – Sr. Transfer from Oklahoma St, brother of Damion Daniels – played in 4 games with 7 total tackles

Boise State v Oklahoma State
Hello Nebraska!
Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images

Defensive Line Summary

The biggest loss on the Husker line will be Akinmoladun who notched 41 career starts including the last 37 in a row, however announcers everywhere are grateful they will no longer have to do that thing where they mumble his name really fast instead of actually trying to enunciate and then butchering it completely. Stoltenberg, while an extremely hard worker in practice, was seldom effective in games, largely due to constantly recovering from injuries. Newell finally logged some quality minutes his senior season but, like Stoltenberg, is replaceable.

Of the returning players, expect Stille and the Davis brothers to log a majority of the snaps in 2019. A full year in Zach Duval’s weight room could lead to any or all of these three making a leap in performance this coming season. All three have to potential to find themselves somewhere on the 2019 All Big 10 squad, especially Stille if he can build on a season that saw him amass 5 TFL’s to go along with his 5 sacks.

Damion Daniels saw action in every game and while the losses of Stoltenberg and Newell open the door, his older brother may pull it back shut. DaiShon Neal saw limited playing time last year and will compete for Akinmoladun’s vacated spot, but he could find himself passed by as well (see below).

Of the incoming players, most can safely be expected to redshirt with two possible exceptions:

A) Darrion Daniels’ unimpressive 2018 stats were due to a season-ending injury. If the staff is bringing him in for one season, they must be confident that he will compete for playing time. It is also telling that Mike Gundy would bring him on road trips despite his injury because he wanted his leadership on the bench

B) At 6’6” 275, Ty Robinson has D1 size, speed and skills for the DE position coming out of high school. One never knows until they get in some Division 1 practices, but after watching his HS film and seeing him compete in the Army AA Bowl, I will not be surprised in the least if the season opens with him in the starting DE spot opposite Stille.