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Photo Credit: Eric Francis

Huskers Announce Nine Blackshirts Ahead of Opener in Ireland

August 24, 2022

DUBLIN –– Nebraska football unveiled nine players who will start the season with Blackshirts, offering an early look at the Huskers’ likely starters for Saturday’s game against Northwestern.

By position:

Defensive Line – Colton Feist, Ty Robinson

Outside Linebacker/EDGE – Garrett Nelson, Caleb Tannor

Inside Linebacker – Nick Henrich, Luke Reimer

Cornerback – Quinton Newsome

Safety – Marques Buford Jr., Myles Farmer

Henrich, Nelson and Tannor were selected as captains last week by a team vote, along with tight end Travis Vokolek. Robinson, Newsome and Farmer all ranked in the top 14 on the team in tackles last season and entered this season as likely starters.

That leaves two surprises and perhaps two mysteries. Feist, a junior walk-on from Yutan, has drawn praise all offseason for his work on the defensive line.

“He’s just worked and worked and worked and he’s put himself in a position to play a ton of snaps this year, whether he gets to be a starter or whether he’s the first guy in the rotation,” defensive coordinator Erik Chinander said this month. “He’s done an unbelievable job with his technique, he’s a powerful guy, he knows what’s going on, he has good anticipation of the game and he can really run for a big guy.”

Buford, a sophomore from DeSoto, Texas, appeared in every game last season on special teams, making three tackles He started to make his push for a starting job in the spring.

“I like to call him a dog,” defensive backs coach Travis Fisher said. “He’s a dog, man. He’s not scared of anything. He comes, he shows up every day.”

That leaves at least two positions open––the Huskers have distributed more than 11 Blackshirts before for specialists and positions like nickel backs––and the Nebraska coaches decided they wouldn’t give a Blackshirt to a player to start the season if he had yet to play a game at Nebraska. The two missing shirts would likely include one defensive lineman and one at cornerback. Arizona State transfer Tommi Hill was in contention for snaps at corner, while the Huskers had two Power 5 transfers up front––Stephon Wynn Jr. (Alabama) and Devin Drew (Texas Tech)––and one on the edge, Ocean Mathis (TCU), who should be contributors in 2022.

At his game-week press conference on Sunday, Coach Scott Frost said the slight delay in announcing one of Nebraska’s most anticipated honors was largely due to logistics.

“We had to pack jerseys, so we didn’t want them sweating in them and the shipment already left,” he said. “We’re going to give them out on our first day in Ireland. That has more to do with going overseas than anything else.”

The Huskers arrived in Dublin Tuesday morning, and were scheduled to practice for the first time in Ireland on Wednesday afternoon at the Aviva Stadium practice field with media availability to follow.

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