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2019 Nebraska Football Position Breakdown: Defensive Line

The strength of the defense?

Bethune Cookman v Nebraska Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images

Coach: Tony Tuioti

Coach Tuioti joined Scott Frost’s staff after the departure of Mike Dawson after the 2018 season. Tuioti was previously at the University of California - Berkeley. Before that he had a couple stints in the NFL and at the University of Hawaii and Michigan.

So Who Makes Up This Defensive Line Group?

  1. Fyn Anderson, 6’3” 305 lbs Senior
  2. Damion Daniels, 6’3” 340 lbs Sophomore
  3. Darrion Daniels, 6’4” 320 lbs Senior (transfer from Oklahoma State)
  4. Carlos Davis, 6’2” 320 lbs Senior
  5. Khalil Davis, 6’2” 315 lbs Senior
  6. Colton Feist, 6’2” 280 lbs Redshirt Freshman
  7. Jacob Herbek, 6’5” 300 lbs Freshman
  8. Matt Huser, 6’5” 300 lbs Freshman
  9. Damian Jackson, 6’2” 275 lbs Sophomore
  10. Ben Lingenfelter, 6’4” 290 lbs Sophomore
  11. DaiShon Neal, 6’7” 310 lbs Senior
  12. Mosai Newsom, 6’4” 280 lbs Freshman
  13. Eli Richter, 6’4” 240 lbs Freshman
  14. Ty Robinson, 6’6” 315 lbs Freshman
  15. Casey Rogers, 6’4” 300 lbs Reshirt Freshman
  16. Ben Stille, 6’5” 295 lbs Junior
  17. Deontre Thomas, 6’3” 295 lbs Sophomore
  18. Vaha Vainuku, 6’3” 310 lbs Senior
  19. Chris Walker, 6’6” 300 lbs Sophomore
  20. Tate Wildeman, 6’5” 290 lbs Redshirt Freshman

Expected Contributors for 2019

Damion Daniels: The younger brother of Darrion Daniels, Damion played in all twelve games last season. He is a huge human being and could be a dominant nose tackle in this defense for years to come.

Darrion Daniels: A transfer from Oklahoma State decided to finish his collegiate career with his younger brother in Lincoln. Everything we have heard is that he immediately was a leader in that position group and brings not only experience to the team but talent. He gets to share his nose tackle duties with his brother, and I would not be surprised to see them both on the field at the same time...from time to time.

Carlos Davis: Was honorable-mention All-Big Ten in 2018 and plans on building on that for his senior season at Nebraska. He has compiled over 100 tackles during his career at Nebraska.

Khalil Davis: Khalil was won NU Defensive Lineman of the Year in 2018 as well as an honorable-meintion All-Big Ten in 2018. Finished the year tied for third on the team in tackles for loss and sacks. Pairing him with his brother the outlook looks pretty good.

Ben Stille: As a sophomore, Stille started in eleven games in 2018. He had 25 total tackles including five sacks which lead the team.

Hopeful Contributors for 2019

Jahkeem Green: I am very interested in seeing what happens with Jahkeem Green, a defensive tackle from Highland Community College. He has three years to play two. In my perfect world, he is on scout team and comes in for the last four games of the season type of deal so we can preserve an extra year of eligibility. After this season there will be a lot of experience graduating on the defensive line, and we could use them then. But we gotta win now obviously.

Damian Jackson: Sounds like he is the alpha on the team and is well respected by all of his teammates. Sometimes that can only go so far if you do not make it onto the field. Which is why I am hopeful he can contribute this coming year. Or maybe the year after.

Daishon Neal: Played seven games, but mostly on special teams. He just graduated and now has his last year left to hopefully get some more playing time.

Deontre Thomas: Thomas’s 2018 season was cut short by injury. He was in the defensive line rotation in 2017. The sophomore can make an impact if given the chance.

Casey Rogers: Suffered an injury in fall camp in 2018.

Tate Wildeman: Might have saw the field last year but his season was cut short by injury.

Vaha Vainu: Hoping for the senior to get some playing time after transferring here from Utah.

Outlook for 2019

It is interesting the difference a year can make. We go from a 2018 where the defensive line was a part of a group that gave up nearly five yards per carry. Now after another year of experience and a couple huge additions, it appears that the defensive line is the strength of the defense.

As a defensive unit, we would have rightly expected to see some improvement. However after the addition of Darrion Daniels, I expect to see a huge jump.

The for sure things with this group are the Daniels and Davis brothers as well as Ben Stille. Usually there are only three spots on the defensive front unless they bring in a fourth, but there should be ample opportunity for some of the younger players to crack that rotation. The more the merrier.