Nebraska Cornhuskers defensive lineman Nash Hutmacher blasts through the line during scrimmage
Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Nebraska Recruiting: Defensive Linemen Need to Grow Quickly as Portal Looms

March 03, 2022

Recruiting never stops and it’s easy to miss the top stories day-to-day. Recruiting analyst Greg Smith recaps all things Nebraska recruiting news, analysis and more so you never miss a thing.


The transfer portal is a reality of college football. As some Husker coaches explained on Monday, it can be a double-edged sword. It has hurt Nebraska some this offseason with departures but the Huskers have gained much more than they’ve lost. Entire rooms have been reshaped by the portal this offseason. Think about how we’d feel about quarterback, defensive back and wide receiver without Nebraska’s work in the portal.

That doesn’t mean the work is done. Four defensive linemen have departed the program from the 2021 team. Casey Rogers is out for the spring with a knee injury. Ty Robinson is the only veteran returning that will be full-go this spring. The Arizona native posted 27 total tackles and four tackles for loss with two sacks last season. That leaves a wide range of players need to come along quickly in the program.

“I’d keep Nash (Hutmacher) in that group,” defensive front coach Mike Dawson said. “Mosai Newsom’s got to do that, Marquis Black has to do that. Those guys have to step up. Ru’Quan Buckley is a good guy. Those young guys can’t be young any more. Jailen Weaver is going to have an opportunity to get a bunch of reps, so I think that group of guys rotating around those inside spots, they’ve got to do a good job of kind of growing up this spring in a hurry.”

That group of young players is credited with two combined tackles in their careers so far. Dawson also mentioned walk-on Colton Feist. He was a player that was coming along nicely last season before an injury derailed his year. Dawson called him one of the toughest players on the roster. Nebraska’s defensive front coach noted there are eight interior players available this spring. It’s important to plan practice snaps so nobody is overworked. The Huskers will likely keep a close eye on Robinson’s reps to keep him healthy.

The players on campus will get all the reps they can handle to prove they deserve a spot in the rotation this season. If that wasn’t enough of a motivator the portal is looming. The interior linemen and ends need to be on alert. The Huskers made the recent top five for TCU pass rusher Ochaun Mathis. The defensive end (6-5, 257) had 45 tackles, seven for loss and four sacks in 2021. North Texas twins Grayson and Gabriel Murphy hold offers from the Huskers. They combined for 15.5 sacks and 26.5 tackles for loss during the 2021 season. Georgia Tech’s Jordan Domineck had 38 total tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks last season. He holds an offer from the Huskers too.

More offers to defensive linemen are sure to come. The Huskers are focused on adding more pass rush to the defense. The team was 12th in the Big Ten last season in sacks with just 20. Adding depth to the interior of the line could be a priority too depending on how things shake out this spring. Dawson has his work cut out for him on the field and the recruiting trail in his new role.

Recruit Watch

>> Pennsylvania defensive back Shawn Battle is all set for his trip to Nebraska this weekend.

>> Colorado offensive lineman Ethan Thompson (6-8. 315) will be in Lincoln this weekend.

ICYMI

>> A pair of young Huskers are ones to watch this fall after a strong winter and start to spring football.

>> The Nebraska women’s basketball team is heading to Indianapolis with momentum as Steve Marik writes.

>> I’ve got a full visit preview for the Huskers’ Junior Day event this weekend.

>> Nebraska baseball is looking to shake things up for the weekend doubleheaders.

>> Jacob Padilla has five thoughts on Gretna’s A-5 District Final win over Lincoln Southwest.

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