On Thursday, Nebraska picked up its 12th known commitment of the 2019 class when junior college defensive tackle Tony Fair from Pima Community College in Tucson, Arizona, joined the class. The true nose tackle gives Nebraska another good option along the defensive line as defensive coordinator Erik Chinander continues to get the defense where he wants it. Here are my five thoughts on the commitment.
Man in the middle
To make a 3-4 defense truly go you need two things at the bare minimum. One is a dynamic pass rusher or two and the other is a true nose tackle. Fair’s size (6-3, 330) and speed combination make him a force in the middle of the defense. He is someone that can occupy a center or guard to keep your linebackers clean.
There has not been a lot of talk about defensive tackle being a need this year but if you look a bit closer, adding a defensive tackle is a great idea. Adding Fair to the mix next year with Damion Daniels bolsters depth at the position since the Huskers will lose Mick Stoltenberg and Peyton Newell to graduation after this season. At best the JUCO product gives you a starter and at worse he gives you a rotational player that can see the field a good amount. It’s a win-win situation.
Good JUCO program
Pima Community College plays in the same conference as Arizona Western, the program that current Huskers Greg Bell and Jaron Woodyard came from. It’s a good league and playing against that level of competition will serve Fair well. The Pima Aztecs also have other quality players that Nebraska is keeping an eye on. Cornerback Christian Mattix is a 6-3 player who is a preseason All-American. Also, Sam Moala has close to 20 Division I offers as a pass-rushing defensive end who has the potential to be a rush outside linebacker.
When speaking to Jim Monaco, the head coach at Pima, he couldn’t stop raving about what makes Fair such a good prospect. If you want to know what type of player Nebraska got a verbal from, look no farther than this explanation of his game from Monaco.
“We play a 30 front like they do at Nebraska," Monaco said. "Tony has to stay on that center and keep him off. At 6-3.5, he’s 345 right now which is too heavy. You have a tendency to have a guy that like that is too slow. Tony is incredibly quick footed. He just gets off the ball so fast. He’s got very good moves. He’s got some of the things naturally that you try to teach. He’s pretty cerebral and knows the game.”
When I talked to Fair about his offer from Nebraska, we talked at length after my questions were done about the work he was doing at Pima to get his weight under control and get his strength up. He was very focused and determined to make the most of his opportunity and mentioned several times that a school like Nebraska is the perfect place for him with everything available to you to help you improve. Those are the types of players you need when rebuilding a team.
Greg is the Recruiting Analyst for Hail Varsity and has covered Husker athletics since 2013. He has always had a passion for sports while growing up in the Chicago area. As he got older and had to hang up his cleats and sneakers, he realized his passion for sports went beyond just watching and attending games. He has covered many events from the Rose Bowl to championship boxing matches. If he’s not talking sports, he’s hovering over his grill. He is married to an amazing woman, Kim, and they have a dog that barks when Greg yells at the TV during games.