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Nebraska Spring Review: The Defensive Line

Northwestern v Nebraska
“Who else here has made a tackle? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?”
Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images

In the spring of 2017, I stupidly volunteered to preview a tight end group whose only stat was 12 a tackle for which one of them had been credited on a kickoff. I joked anyone catching a pass that season would be making their first career reception. I referenced the “Who are these f*ckin’ guys??” scene in Major League.

In reality, it played out decently for the group. Tyler Hoppes stepped up to make 34 receptions, Jack Stoll saw some action early in his solid career and Austin Allen arrived on campus to start adding to his 6’8” 210 lb frame.

Currently, the defensive line room other than Ty Robinson has numbers and experience eerily similar to those 2017 tight ends.:

2021 Stats

Ty Robinson - 13 Solo Tackles 14 Assists 4 Tackles for Loss and 2 Sacks

Rest of the returning defensive lineman on roster - 2 Assists

That should cover the stats.

With the transfer of Casey Rogers, the youth and inexperience of the talent remaining, and another cycle of recruiting the transfer portal still to play out, I won’t begin to speculate who beyond Robinson will be earning the starts and the playing time. For the purposes of this list, I only went with players listed as Defensive Linemen on the current Nebraska roster even though we’ll likely see guys like OLB Garrett Nelson lining up on the end quite often.

Despite the lack of experience among those not named Ty Robinson, these young men do not appear short on size or strength. Most of them range in weight from 290-325 and, if pressed into service, do not resemble a group easily pushed around. That being said, look for Frost to try and add 2-3 guys with experience over the next few months.

Let’s go down the list:


TOP DOG

Ty Robinson - Soph - Robinson came to the Huskers as a 4-star Rivals Top 100 prospect. After limited action redshirting as a true freshman, he has played regularly in all 20 games since with 11 starts. Last season, Ty started to flash some of the early promise of his recruiting hype. He will transition from younger member of the group to its anchor and leader.


YEP, EVERYONE ELSE

Even if Nebraska picks up a couple more linemen in the portal, a few in this group are going to accumulate additional playing time. Since that’s been limited thus far, here’s a few fun facts along with their Rivals star rating.

Nash Huntmacher - Soph - *** Rivals Star Rating - In South Dakota, Nash went undefeated in his HS wrestling career and actually began practicing with the varsity as a 6th grader. He went 33-0 his senior year with 32 pins and a forfeit. Might be some decent strength and balance there, eh?

Syndication: SiouxFalls
Gotta admit - I love the idea Graham Mertz being compromised like this.
Erin Bormett / Argus Leader, Sioux Falls Argus Leader via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Jailen Weaver - R Fr - *** - At 6’8 320, Weaver was a three-sport athlete competing in football, basketball and track which included running a 100m leg on the sprint medley relay team.

Ru’Quan Buckley - R Fr - *** - After starting every game for four years, he became the first player from Godwin Heights HS in Michigan to sign with a Big 10 team.

Mosai Newsom - Soph - *** - When being recruited, Mosai was ranked by Rivals as one of the Top 5 players in Iowa and was Academic All Big 10 in 2020. Never hurts getting one out the Iowegian back yard.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 18 Nebraska at Rutgers Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Colton Feist - Jr - NR - Feist, a walk-on from Yutan, has been an absolute rock star in the classroom as a 3-time Academic All Big 10 member and a 2-time Big 10 Distinguished Scholar.

Marquis Black - R Fr - *** - Marquis comes from Eagles Landing Christian Academy in Georgia where he was a 3-year starter and 4-time state champion.

Brodie Tagaloa - Incoming Fr - *** - Brodie comes to the Huskers from California powerhouse De La Salle HS and was selected to play in the 2022 Polynesian Bowl.