5 Players Least Likely to Redshirt in 2019
Photo Credit: Greg Smith

5 Players Least Likely to Redshirt in 2019

July 15, 2019

Nebraska landed quite a few players for the 2019 recruiting class that have the chance to compete for playing time early. Narrowing down the list of who will play early is tough though. It can simply come down to opportunity within the position groups.

Let’s look at the five players I have my eye on in 2019 to burn their redshirts.

Dedrick Mills

The running back from Garden City Community College feels like a safe bet to factor heavily into the running back rotation. Mills has Power 5 experience having played at Georgia Tech, where he led the team in rushing with 771 yards and 12 touchdowns. At minimum, he should be part of a strong running back committee during his first season as a Husker. 

Wan’Dale Robinson

Nebraska’s big “offensive weapon” from the 2019 recruiting class looks poised to play a major factor from the start of the season. We didn’t get to see a lot of him during spring practice due to a hamstring injury. That injury kept him mostly off the practice field and out of the spring game. The Nebraska staff was pretty cautious with him but for good reason because Robinson figures to be a mainstay in the offensive attack as a true freshman. 

Noa Pola-Gates

The Arizona native fits defensive backs coach Travis Fisher’s room very well. He’s tough, athletic and very physical. If he can handle the speed of the college game from the beginning, there is a role for him on special teams and the sub-package. Pola-Gates is an elite athlete that can help the team right away as he learns the finer points of the defense. 

Rahmir Johnson

Even assuming that Maurice Washington will be a full participant (which we don’t know yet) and that Mills will be a big part of the offense, Johnson is a player that should be able to play right away. He could provide a great change of pace with his breakaway speed while also keeping the offense versatile because of his skills catching the ball out of the backfield or the slot. 

Quinton Newsome

The versatile defensive back is a player that the Nebraska coaching staff was very happy to get in the recruiting process. The early reviews have been very positive as the 6-foot-2 and 180-pound defender has been turning heads in workouts. It would be difficult to get on the field consistently as a corner with three established players ahead of him, however Newsome’s ability to play every secondary position plus special teams could serve him well in Year 1.

As a bonus, something I’ll be interested to track will be how the guys who enrolled early are handled in 2019. Outside of Robinson, none are locks to burn their redshirts. Quarterback Luke McCaffrey, defensive lineman Brant Banks and tight end Chris Hickman are almost certainly going to redshirt. Jamie Nance’s speed makes him an intriguing player to get an early look. Inside linebacker Nick Henrich has a shot depending on his recovery from surgery. Outside linebacker Garrett Nelson looks the most physically ready but we will need to see if he can handle the speed of the game at the college level. 

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