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Spring Football Review - Linebackers: From Barren to Depth

Michigan v Nebraska Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images

We can be critical of Scott Frost and his staff for many things but it appears that they have done a good job building up the linebacker, both inside and outside, rooms from where it all began when they got here.

Here is a quick review of where Nebraska stands as of now at both of these positions.


Inside Linebackers

The names that you already know are Luke Reimer and Nick Henrich and

The names you might not be completely aware of but probably should are Chris Kolarevic, Ernest Hausmann and Eteva Mauga-Clements.

If Reimer and Henrich can stay healthy then this is the best set of inside linebackers Nebraska has had in quite a while. Reimer looks like he has the physical tools to play at the next level and Henrich, while not far off, appears to be the leader of the group.

What I would love to see is Eteva Mauga-Clements get a sustained crack at that position. He looks like a player that once he figures out and understands the defense that he will be a tackling machine.

Sideline to sideline.

Chris Kolarevic might not even belong in this group as the coaches talked that he has been working with the hybrid nickle position that JoJo Domann manned last season. The other player playing that position is Isaac Gifford, who is technically a defensive back.

Garrett Snodgrass, who is the probably considered the backup to Reimer and Henrich has been out all spring with an injury.

Lastly as a player of note is incoming freshman Ernest Hausmann. There have been rumblings that he has played surprisingly well this past spring. Sean Callahan even made a prediction that Hausmann likely won’t redshirt this season because he has been playing so well.

Outside Linebackers

This is the group that I think has greatly improved since Scott Frost arrived.

The names that comes to mind are Caleb Tannor, Jimari Butler, Garrett Nelson, Blaise Gunnerson and now Ochaun Mathis.

I think this is a really good group.

We know that we are getting with Caleb Tannor. He has made steps ever year and hopefully will take another jump to finish out his career at Nebraska.

Garrett Nelson looks like he’s the emotional and physical leader of the entire defense. The best part is it looks like he will be able to back it up with his play. We know his meter is always running but he has started to add technique and physicality.

Jimari Butler is a guy that after watching the spring game, I am extremely excited to see him play in 2022. He looks like a potential star in the making and he’s only a redshirt freshman.

Blaise Gunnerson is a guy that looks like the part. We haven’t seen it on the field yet, but that has been a result of some injuries. Hopefully he can stay healthy this fall.

Last, but definitely not least, is Ochaun Mathis who is the transfer from TCU. He was considered by The Athletic as the number one transfer option at that time and Nebraska grabbed him.


Both the inside linebacker room and outside linebacker room appears to have been built up over the past four seasons. That is a credit to the coaching staff.

It wasn’t even two years ago that the outlook for both of these rooms would have been considered barren. It has turned into depth.