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2019 Nebraska Football Position Breakdown: Outside Linebackers

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Domann, Davis and Ferguson are the upperclassmen in a position group that could be make-or-break for the Blackshirts this fall.

NCAA FOOTBALL: DEC 30 Music City Bowl - Nebraska v Tennessee Photo by Steve Roberts/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Position coach: Jovan Dewitt

Losses (Graduation and Transfer)

The biggest loss from 2018 is Luke Gifford (12 starts; 62 tackles, 35 solo; 13 tackles for loss; 5.5 sacks; 1 forced fumble; 7 QB hurries). Gifford was the only senior OLB in 2018. He graduated and earned an undrafted free agent invitation to the Dallas Cowboys camp. Gifford was turning heads in Dallas but has suffered a high ankle sprain in the first preseason game and will be sidelined for a bit.

Collin Miller moved from OLB to ILB in 2018. He has been impressing the coaches (if fall camp coach-speak is accurate) at his new position.

Transferring out of the Husker program were Breon Dixon (4 games played; 1 tackle), Guy Thomas (played in four games with four assisted tackles) and Quayshon Alexander (0 games played).

Returning Production

  • Tyrin Ferguson played in eight games in 2018, starting four. He registered 36 tackles, 19 solo; 1 sack; and six tackles for loss. He played a large chunk of 2018 with an ankle injury.
  • JoJo Domann moved from safety to linebacker mid-season and flashed some playmaking ability. He played in eight games, starting two. His stat line included 19 tackles, 10 solo; 1 sack; 2 forced fumbles.
  • Caleb Tannor played in 12 games with tackles, 6 solo. He also added one tackle for loss and one sack.
  • Alex Davis played in 12 games, starting four. He accumulated five tackles, 1 solo.
  • Simon Otte - 1 game played; 1 assisted tackle

New Faces

Nebraska brought in five freshman; three of them Nebraska natives.

  • Garrett Nelson (Scottsbluff) was rated a three-star who committed to Nebraska early and never wavered. He was considered the third-best prospect (all positions) in Nebraska.
  • Jamin Graham (Alabama) is another three-star commit.
  • Sam Shurtleff (Georgia), Nick Leader (Lincoln, NE), and John Bullock (Omaha) are walk-on additions.

Projected Depth Chart

Depth looks to be a real issue at this position unless some players in the program have taken a big step forward or a newcomer shines right away.

Junior JoJo Dommann will be a likely starter with seniors Alex Davis and Tyrin Ferguson leading the competition for the other starting spot. Davis’ Husker career has been under the radar thus far, but he has been getting a lot of good mentions from the coaching staff (and other players), including this from Coach Frost late last week:

Alex has always had the skill and gifts. With him it was just getting comfortable with the position. He hasn’t played football all his life...he was thinking too much...looks better in pass rush...if he plays like he’s practicing, he’ll have a good year

Sophomore Caleb Tannor and Freshman Garrett Nelson have also gotten shoutouts from the head coach during fall camp.

Alex Davis seems to be the one that the coaches are grooming to be the primary pass rusher this fall. How far he has come and how well he fills this role will be a significant pivot point for the Blackshirts. JoJo Domann seems to be the Swiss Army Knife of the defense in that the coaches hope to deploy him in multiple ways with that versatility allowing them to mix things up or do the unexpected.

This entire position group is one that makes me nervous. I feel good about the roles the coaches are defining and potential of the players, but we’ve seen only flashes of production and listened to spring and fall practice reports. If the defensive line is as deep as advertised and if the secondary has made the jump talked about by the coaches, then it should help the linebackers. If any piece of the puzzle breaks down or the injury bug hits.../shudders.

Let’s hope everyone stays healthy and scheme goes as planned.

Roster

Outside Linebackers 2019

No Name Height Weight Yr Hometown
No Name Height Weight Yr Hometown
45 David Alston 6-4 235 RFr. Saint Paul, Minn. (Woodbury)
85 John Bullock 6-1 220 Fr. Omaha, Neb. (Creighton Prep)
22 Alex Davis 6-5 250 Sr. Riviera Beach, Fla. (Dwyer)
13 JoJo Domann 6-1 235 Jr. Colorado Springs, Colo. (Pine Creek)
43 Tyrin Ferguson 6-2 230 Sr. New Orleans, La. (Edna Karr)
89 Jamin Graham 6-4 240 Fr. Attalla, Ala. (Etowah)
32 Pernell Jefferson 6-2 250 Jr. New Orleans, La. (Warren Easton)
81 Nick Leader 6-1 205 Fr. Lincoln, Neb. (Southwest)
44 Garrett Nelson 6-3 260 Fr. Scottsbluff, Neb. (Scottsbluff)
34 Simon Otte 6-1 205 RFr. York, Neb. (York)
57 Jordan Paup 6-3 245 So. Central City, Neb. (Central City)
54 Ryan Schommer 6-4 250 RFr. Norfolk, Neb. (Norfolk)
83 Sam Shurtleff 6-3 220 Fr. Watkinsville, Ga. (Oconee County)
1 Caleb Tannor 6-2 220 So. Stone Mountain, Ga. (Miller Grove)