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Nebraska Football Position Preview: Defensive Backs

I hope you enjoy that picture of Bootle and the greatest defensive mind that ever minded.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: APR 15 Nebraska Spring Game Photo by John Peterson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Nebraska’s Defensive Backs Coach

Travis Fisher is considered one of the best assistant coaches on the staff. He’s been an excellent recruiter and appears to have a knack for development as well.

He likes to “cross-train” his players so they can play both cornerback or safety.

Last year Nebraska held teams to the lowest passing yards per game (200.8) since 2012.

Returning Contributors from 2019

Cam “Wam Bam” Taylor-Britt, 6’0”, 215 lbs from Montgomery, Alabama

One of my favorite players on the team was honorable-mention all Big Ten in 2019. He made a ton of strides by working hard as he also won the Boyd Eppley Lifter of the Year Award. As a sophomore he started in ten games. Seven of those games was as a safety and three as a corner.

He had three interceptions and forced four fumbles. The four forced fumbles had him tied nationally for 4th place.

DiCaprio “Leonardo” Bootle, 5’10” 195 lbs from Miami, Florida

Exhibit A of “well not everything Mike Riley did was bad.” Coach Riley happened to stumble upon DiCaprio Bootle at a football camp. He didn’t go there to watch Bootle, but Bootle walked away with a scholarship offer.

Now a senior, Bootle was 3rd team All-Big Ten in 2018 and was an Honorable Mention in 2019. He was Nebraska’s Defensive Back of the Year in both 2018 and 2019. He started every game as a junior (the first eight as a cornerback and the final four as a safety).

Braxton “Claxton” Clark, 6’4” 210 lbs from Orlando, Florida

Unfortunately, the 6’4” future stud is now out for the year with a shoulder injury.

Deontai “Smiles” Williams, 6’1”, 205 lbs from Jacksonville, Florida

This guy just always looks mad. I’m not sure I’ve seen him smile in any picture. I like it.

Will be starting at safety just like he did last year. However, his 2019 season ended almost immediately after it got started when he was injured in the first game.

He has said he has plenty to prove. If he plays a full season then he’s likely an NFL prospect. Hopefully we get to see that happen.

Marquel “Thunder Dome” Dismuke, 6’2” 215 lbs from Compton, California

Remember all of those studs from Calabasas High School? Well the least talked about one ended up being the only one who meant anything to the program and that’s Marquel Dismuke.

Dismuke started every game in 2019 and lead the secondary in tackles with 67, which was third on the entire team.

Potential New Contributors for 2020

Noa “Push Not” Pola-Gates, 5’11”, 175 lbs from Gilbert, Arizona

As a recruit Pola-Gates was considered one of the top safeties in the country. He played in two games in 2019. It likely would have been four games but there were injuries early in the season. The coaching staff probably would have liked to use him last year but they wanted to preserve his redshirt.

Myles “Harvesting Tackles” Farmer, 6’3” 205 lbs from Atlanta, Georgia

Like Pola-Gates, the coaching staff probably would have wanted to use him him but they wanted to preserve their redshirt. Farmer appeared in four games.

Nadam “Slamin” Joseph, 6’2” 190 lbs from Miami, Florida

Was a top 100 recruit in the country before going to Independent Community College in Kansas. He was ranked as the number one JUCO defensive back and the number two JUCO overall by ESPN.

Javin “Get It” Wright, 6’3”, 205 lbs from Chandler, Arizona

Son of former Husker Toby Wright, Javin is listed as a cornerback on the website. He has also been practicing at outside linebacker. Probably the backup for JoJo Domann this coming season.

Quinton “Win Some” Newsome, 6’2”, 180 lbs from Suwanee, Georgia

Like Luke Reimer, the coaches thought he was so important on special teams that they were willing to burn his redshirt. Newsome played in 10 games on special teams and made some appearances on defense. He could probably be considered a returning contributor but since most of that time was spent on special teams I’ll leave him here.

Outlook for 2020

It might be between the offensive line position group and the defensive backs for the best position group on the team. Since health did not work in our favor last year, here’s hoping that the crew stays healthy because there is so much potential. The potential in this group is beyond the offensive line position group for this coming year. I think there could be 6+ kids who are studs.

However, I’ve been wrong before.

In the end, we know that it won’t matter if we can stop the passing attack if we can’t stop Big Ten teams from running the ball.