Defensive backs coach Travis Fisher speaks often about wanting to cross-train his players. He believes having players who can learn both safety and cornerback bolsters the overall health of the group. There is merit to his theory. We saw it play out last season when Dicaprio Bootle had to slide from cornerback to safety in pinch.
What about learning defensive back and outside linebacker? Redshirt freshman Javin Wright could be the man for that job. Outside linebacker is one of the places Nebraska needed some extra competition. Blaise Gunnerson enrolled early. Jimari Butler and Niko Cooper are on the way this summer and the Huskers will need to get a good look at them. Damian Jackson is now getting some reps at outside linebacker.
The plan was for Javin Wright to take some reps out there at outside linebacker. Having versatile weapons on your defense can be just as valuable as having them on offense. Defensive coordinator Erik Chinander described him as a player that could “job swap” after the first day of spring practice. Wright has a lot of tools that would make him a good candidate for a role like the one JoJo Domann plays.
"He's a ridiculously smart player,” Chinander said. “He can tell you what all the guys did before I even pulled him into a different position. He's just really, really smart. Has great football knowledge. Second off, he's obviously a very good-sized kid. We can do whatever we want with him. If we decide that secondary, and the back end is going to be the position, I think he can stay lean and be a 205-, 210-pound safety, corner, whatever he needs to be. And then if we have to move him down, you know, I think Coach Duval can do a good job with him and get him up to 225, 230 pounds."
I went back to Wright’s Hudl film from high school to see what I’d find from his prep days in Arizona. There aren’t a lot of senior highlights. Yet what’s there plus his junior highlights show some interesting things. Wright lined up at safety, cornerback, wide receiver and returned punts in high school. He appeared to make a lot of calls on the defense. He often helped guys get lined up which shows the high football IQ that Chinander spoke about.
We know more about the main three pieces to the outside linebacker puzzle for the 2020 season. JoJo Domann, Garrett Nelson and Caleb Tannor will factor heavily into the mix. More depth is needed though for the key position in this 3-4 defense. The group behind them will be jostling for position to compete for snaps this fall.
The son of former Husker great Toby Wright, Javin hasn’t gotten a lot of press after signing in that 2019 recruiting class. It sounds like he will be another intriguing option at some point for the Huskers at a position of great need.
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.