With a new coaching staff, defensive back DeShon Singleton has become a candidate to carve out an increased role next season in a secondary that has returned most of its top contributors.
Singleton played in every game last year, his first as a Husker, but primarily contributed on special teams. He saw action on the defensive side in six contests, making two of his three tackles on defense. Listed at 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds, he’s one of the bigger defensive backs on the roster, and his combination of size and versatility could help him see the field in defensive coordinator Tony White’s scheme.
He’s currently working with the safeties, head coach Matt Rhule said at Thursday’s press conference, but Singleton said his ability to play anywhere is one of his biggest strengths.
“I’m physical, I’m a big DB, larger DB that can cover,” Singleton said. “I can tackle, I’m just physical and I can just really be all-around. As a DB, I play corner, safety, nickel.”
Rhule has taken notice of his ability this spring. He praised Singleton’s ball skills, saying he came up with an impressive redzone interception in the team’s most recent practice. The head coach has high hopes for the third-year sophomore’s future.
“I think he’s a player with a lot of potential, he’s got a really good future ahead of him. And I love his physicality,” Rhule said. “He’s working to master all the fundamentals that we’re asking him to do but he’s got a lot of upside and he’ll have a good future with us.”
Singleton said the 2022 season was frustrating for him because of the team’s performance. The work the Huskers put in during practice wasn’t translating to the field, evidenced by the 4-8 record. He’s taken the lessons learned from those struggles into this offseason.
“You have to put in what you want to get out of it. So I mean, that’s what we did, it’s just that we didn’t get the results we wanted,” Singleton said. “So that’s what we’re working on right now and we’re just getting better every day.”
The spring has been successful for him. Singleton set goals to “go hard every time” and take advantage of his opportunities, and he feels he’s succeeded in those pursuits. The support system he has around him on the team has helped, whether that be fifth-year defensive backs Quinton Newsome and Myles Farmer or position coach Evan Cooper.
Cooper has brought a fun, competitive environment to the defensive back room, and Singleton is a fan of his coaching style.
“[Cooper’s] not really the one that’s yelling at you 24/7 and you’re not really comprehending it,” he said. “He wants to actually teach you the information and make sure you understand it and if you can’t, he’ll even put you in the film room after.”
Singleton looks to continue his improvement into Saturday’s spring game, the first at Nebraska for Rhule, Cooper and most of the coaching staff. He wants to win, but there will be more to focus on than just the final score of the scrimmage.
“I’m just looking to compete with my teammates,” Singleton said. “Have fun, take advantage of everything that’s presented to me and all the work that we put into spring, just let it show on the field Saturday.”