Husker OLB/Special Teams Coach Jovan Dewitt is Heading to UNC
Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Nebraska Recruiting: Reshaping the OLB Room on the Fly

September 10, 2019

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.

When a new staff takes over a program, they typically want to recruit a different type of player than those previously on the team. That doesn’t always mean the players on the roster when they took the job were bad players or teammates. It could just mean the fit isn’t quite right for the new schemes. 

There is one pretty clear example of this, which is when a coach takes over a program that ran a pro-style offense before but the new coach runs spread. The new coach will want to bring in quarterbacks that have more athleticism. That makes sense because that’s what makes his offense tick. 

A version of that dilemma can happen at any position on the field when a new staff takes over a program. It even happens when you go from one version of the 3-4 defense to another version. That happened for Nebraska when Coach Scott Frost and his staff took over in Lincoln. Outside linebackers coach Jovan Dewitt spoke on Tuesday about changing the makeup of his position group. 

“I think one of the things we looked at as to who we had from an ability and physical stature standpoint, we needed to get longer,” Dewitt explained. “We did that. We needed to get faster and I think we did that. You can’t fix it all at once; it’s just not going to happen. You wish it would. But if you do that and you go that route then you’re probably ending up with transfers all day long and other guys coming in, you’re probably going to need to fix it again in two years. 

“For us to build long-term success at that position, you’re going to have to take young guys, you’re going to have to take freshmen and throw them into the fire a little bit, get some early graduates like Garrett Nelson in. Jamin Graham was long and athletic, Caleb Tannor was long and athletic, and then you sprinkle in some of the guys that were here and I think you've changed the dynamic of the room.”

I would agree with Dewitt’s assessment that the dynamic of the room has changed. The depth is not fully there yet but you can see the building blocks put into place. I’d say that the only thing missing from the unit right now is a bridge player between Alex Davis and Tyrin Ferguson. When those seniors graduate the group wouldn't be so young next season. That’s where landing one of those junior college pass rushers last cycle would have come in handy.

That hasn’t hurt the defense so far this season. The way the defense has played it will spend a good deal of time in the nickel package. Moving forward, more players like Blaise Gunnerson will join the mix. Gunnerson is a good example of the type of long, athletic, yet physical, player Dewitt is looking for in his room. 

In the future Nebraska will continue building toward having a versatile defense that can attack opponents in multiple ways. The outside linebacker group is a good example of being able to see the work in progress in real time.

Recruit Watch

>> Nebraska defensive line commit Nash Hutmacher got a good lfit in this morning. 

>> Sidney Williams, a 2020 defensive back from Alabama, included the Huskers in his top six on Tuesday. 


>> The Lo-Down is back to show how Husker volleyball handles post-match recovery. 

>> Hail Varsity has confirmed a pair of official visitors for this weekend’s game. A pass rusher from Arizona and a defender from California. (Premium)

>> Defensive coordinator Erik Chinander spoke on Tuesday about how the Blackshirts need to learn to finish games. 

>> Issac Armstrong was “next man up” at kicker writes Jacob Padilla. (Premium)

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