Hot Reads: Held
Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Hot Reads: Held, Fisher Have a Big Hand in What Comes Next for Nebraska

January 13, 2020

Do good work, get additional opportunities.

Get additional opportunities, get more money.

That's the way it works in most industries and that's the way it seems to have worked for Nebraska defensive backs coach Travis Fisher. According to a report from the Lincoln Journal Star, Fisher was offered a position on Lane Kiffin's new Ole Miss staff, and Nebraska responded. Fisher is receiving a $125,000 raise, to $450,000 per year, to stay in Lincoln.

Per the same report, running backs coach Ryan Held is also getting a salary bump, from $300,000 a year to $400,000.

Neither of those increases will raise many eyebrows around Nebraska. Fisher has built one of the strongest position groups on the team. The veteran players he inherited have improved (see: Dicaprio Bootle, Marquel Dismuke and especially Lamar Jackson). He has a few early evaluation "hits" (Cam Taylor-Britt for sure, probably Deontai Williams) and Fisher has a slew of promising prospects in the past two classes that should make the competition in the secondary this summer a ton of fun to watch.

Held also had a nice, on-field bargaining chip. Devine Ozigbo's better-than-expected final season in 2018 is still worth remembering. He entered that year averaging 4.23 yards per carry for his three-year career with 25 runs of 10-plus yards and six of 20-plus. In Scott Frost's offense, with Held as his position coach, Ozigbo averaged 6.98 yards per carry, hitting for 10-plus yards 29 times in 2018 and 20-plus yards 12 times. The 2019 season didn't bring any such clear-cut success stories, but Held's more than proven his value.

Especially in recruiting. That's true in both cases. Per 247Sports recruiter rankings, Held and Fisher were Nebraska's highest ranked recruiters for the 2020 cycle, ranking Nos. 34 and 35 respectively. That put the pair fourth and fifth among Big Ten assistants. 

Held is Nebraska's best recruiting weapon in the junior-college ranks, but he's really the Huskers' ace in the hole no matter where a player is from or where he plays. It was Held leading the charge for Wan'Dale Robinson after he initially committed to Kentucky, and Held gets at least an assist on offensive lineman Turner Corcoran and junior college wide receiver Omar Manning, two of the top-rated players in the 2020 class.

Meanwhile Fisher is Nebraska's Florida closer regardless of position. Four of the six players 247 gives at least partial credit to Fisher for 2020 were rated as 4-stars including Florida defensive backs Henry Gray and Jaiden Francois, linebacker Keyshawn Greene and wide receiver Marcus Fleming (with Troy Walters). 

While Nebraska's new era is off to a slow start in terms of wins, Fisher and Held will have had a big hand in whatever success is to come. That comes with a cost and its one I'm guessing Frost is perfectly happy to pay.

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