Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Former Nebraska Team Captain Caleb Tannor Taking Positives From NFL Draft Process

April 02, 2023

It was a tough wait between Iowa City on November 25 and Lincoln on March 22 for Caleb Tannor. Perhaps it seemed longer than the five years he spent on the field for the Huskers, including a program-record 56 games. During those five years he grew from what teammate Garrett Nelson fondly reminisced during the season as “kind of a hot mess” into a team captain. While the Husker football world spun on its axis in the four months that followed the season, Tannor’s winter focused on that one date.

Tannor worked out with about a dozen other former Huskers during Nebraska’s Pro Day on March 22. He emerged from it a thankful man following 90 minutes of make-or-break workouts. His initial dreams of receiving an NFL Combine invitation were dashed alongside his fellow former edge rusher teammate, Nelson. Instead he moved the goal posts back to the dependable date. He put destiny into his own hands with representatives from all 32 NFL franchises watching.

“It’s tough man, but it’s a process. Process has been great for me,” Tannor said after workouts. “I’m just thankful, man, that I came in injury-free and able to show what I can do.”

He arrived at Nebraska as a 4-star all-state defensive end out of Stone Mountain, Georgia. He immediately contributed on special teams, although he was known as a problem guy, according to Nelson. Tannor focused on his needs that first year and consistently found himself on different accountability lists for it. Forty-four games later he was named a team captain. Linebacker Nick Henrich marveled at Tannor’s growth in college. Former head coach Scott Frost said he’s seldom watched a guy grow as much in college as Tannor.

In total, Tannor tallied 65 solo tackles and 61 assisted at Nebraska. He made 18 tackles for loss, including 10 sacks. He either set or tied career highs for all in his senior season. In a fluctuating defense with two different coordinators, overseen by two head coaches, he made 25 solo stops, 18 assisted with six for loss and 2.5 sacks. He basked in the victory at Iowa City, leaning back in a chair inside the visitor’s locker room with the Heroes Trophy casually corralled in his arm. Leaving Nebraska at that point was bittersweet. But he turned his focus to the NFL. He felt slighted when he didn’t receive an invitation to the combine. Through his faith he stayed the course and kept himself available.

“Biggest thing is probably just been keeping my body healthy, Tannor said. “Been a long process, man. I’m just thankful, not to get it over with but to show what I can do. Everything went good.”

He did every event and drill at Nebraska’s Pro Day. He didn’t receive any numbers but unofficial tallies from that day showed his broad jump at 9 feet, 8 inches, a 4.73-second 40, 4.33 shuttle and a 7.20 three-cone. Tannor liked his weight, coming in at 237 pounds that day. He couldn’t contain a satisfied grunt and smile at that admission. He estimated he weighed between 220 and 225 pounds during his senior season.

“Good amount of weight and I’ve still got my abs,” he smiled. “It’s a good thing.”

He already talked with a couple of teams but insisted he’d keep them on the hush. Tannor felt he showed his versatility during Pro Day and even more teams responded. While he almost exclusively played edge rusher at Nebraska, he could move around to make the NFL leap. Perhaps a few of the teams he’s scheduled to work out with will be impressed enough to draft him later this month, or sign him afterwards. All he wants is the opportunity and he’ll take the rest from there.

“Been a good process man. It’s been nothing but good to me so I’m thankful for it,” he said. “Just wait for the day. We just going to keep on rolling.”

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