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Nebraska Recruiting: Examining Defensive Line Priorities for 2021

June 22, 2020

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.

One of the big storylines from last week was idea that Nebraska is “fast-tracking” some personnel decisions. That idea presented itself most notably on the offensive line. Let’s look at the flip side of that. Which position group will the coaching staff need more information on?

My answer is clear—defensive line. A lack of spring football stalled settling the Huskers rotation. It could have also delayed firmly setting a defensive line recruiting board.

Ben Stille and Deontre Thomas return at defensive end right plenty of experience. Stille figures to be penciled in as a starter but beyond him it gets tricky. Thomas, Jordan Riley, Casey Rogers, Pheldarius Payne, Mosai Newsom, Ty Robinson and Tate Wildeman are all competing for defensive end snaps. Damion Daniels is the projected starter at nose tackle with Keem Green in the mix. True freshman Nash Hutmacher could get a look there too.

It’s worth noting that some of the defensive ends could flex inside. Robinson, Riley and Payne could take snaps inside. Other newcomer Marquis Black can end or nose tackle too but is a great redshirt candidate. On one had it sounds like defensive line coach Tony Tuioti has a good problem on his hands. On the other there aren’t a lot of known commodities in this entire group. It’s not short on potential but spring was critical for this group. Tuioti recognized that before spring practice being canceled.

“They are all up,” Tuioti said. “That’s why they are all excited to have the opportunity. Who is going to play is determined by what they do in practices. They are all up. These guys understanding that, their attention to details goes up. Focus in meetings is up. It’s been great and I’m excited to see where they are going to be in 15 practices.”

If you are looking for an explanation for why there doesn’t seem to be a ton of movement currently with defensive linemen for the 2021 class beyond a handful of names this could explain why. There is such a logjam on the current team that it’s hard to project how many linemen to take in 2021. Nose tackle specifically may not land in the top five of position needs this cycle.

If you don’t see a slew of new “senior film” offers go out this fall along the defensive line it is probably a good sign.

Recruit Watch

>> One of the Huskers defensive end targets Robert Jackson included the team in his top 10.

>> Caden Crawford, a 2022 linebacker target from Kansas, got some squat work in over the weekend.

>> Huskers offensive line commit Henry Lutovsky is still working on his fishing game.


>> Derek Peterson took a look at other personnel decisions Nebraska might consider before fall camp in his latest column.

>> This week’s Moore To It podcast spoke to Kevin Kugler who is a sportscaster without sports.

>> The 2020 Michigan State Spartans are up next on today’s edition of Buy or Sell.

>> Promising cornerback Braxton Clark is Jacob Padilla’s latest case (Premium) for Nebraska film study.

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