Senior day is one of the great traditional in college football. For Nebraska, the Huskers honored their seniors on Friday prior to the matchup with Iowa. It was quite the scene at Memorial Stadium too. Parents were meeting each other on the field and making small talk. Emotions were high ahead of seeing loved ones run through the tunnel.
One position group had four players taking part in the senior day ceremony: Lane McCallum, Deontai Williams, Cam Taylor-Britt and Marquel Dismuke.
Fisher has coached each of those players for the last four years. McCallum transferred to Nebraska in 2018. Williams and Taylor-Britt came to Nebraska in coach Scott Frost’s first recruiting class. Dismuke was inherited from the previous coaching staff.
Defensive backs coach Travis Fisher spoke earlier in the week about the impact that his seniors had on this program.
“I can’t explain how proud I am of those guys,” Fisher said. “They’ve been able to take my coaching style. Those guys have done so much and been in so many football games. They’ve experienced so much since they’ve been here. The culture of that secondary room has started with those guys. Watching those guys play their last game at home it’s going to be emotional for me. It’s going to also be rewarding to watch them go out there and play the game that they love.”
Taylor-Britt is likely this coaching staff’s best example of a development win. He was underrated as a recruit and could have played many positions in college. The Alabama native picked the Huskers over Troy and Missouri. He entered college having never played defensive back full-time. Taylor-Britt—who was named one of the Huskers’ four captains in 2021—now leaves Nebraska as a likely NFL Draft pick, having started every game this season, recording 46 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 1 sack, a career-high 10 pass breakups and one interception.
“I just grew up a lot while I was here,” Taylor-Britt said. “I have so much knowledge I have saved from all the coaches. We started from the bottom with this whole program just built everything. I just felt like it was that time. I did commit this last year to fulfill my dreams and help this team become better.
“I feel so bad that I could not help do that but I tried my hardest.”
A pair of the seniors that played their last games for the Huskers on Friday are super seniors. Both Williams and Dismuke had the opportunity to leave school last year but each elected to return for one more season. The impact of both returning has been felt across the locker room. That’s especially true in the defensive back room. Seeing those players be so resilient has had a trickle-down effect.
“I think it’s a good message to send to the younger players,” Fisher said. “Like I said, it’s all about the culture. It’s about the opportunity and not about the situation. Win, lose or draw there is an opportunity for you to play the game. It’s a lot people that don’t get a chance to play. They love it so much but don’t get a chance to play it. But they do. Just be able to play it the right way makes an impact.”
The now departed seniors had the opportunity to play one final season for the Huskers. This group had a unique set of challenges and circumstances through their careers. Williams, for example, started his first eight games at safety in 2021 before missing the Purdue, Ohio State and Wisconsin games due to injury.
The season—and in some cases careers—didn’t go the way the players intended. That part can’t be disputed.
“It is all I have known,” Taylor-Britt said. “I have been here four years (and) I have not looked at any other colleges or tried to transfer or anything. Sat my butt here and dealt with the heartache and the pain and tried to change everything around. I feel like you can only do so much, and I feel like I have done my best here and it’s time.”
It may be time for the seniors to move on, but they aren’t leaving without having left their mark on those following in their footsteps. The impact Nebraska’s 2021 seniors—and particularly those in Fisher’s room—will be felt for years to come.
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.