Junior college transfer cornerback Will Jackson has left the program, an NU spokesman told Hail Varsity on Tuesday.
A transfer from Mesa (Arizona) Community College who arrived in the summer, Jackson was expected to provide depth to the Huskers' secondary but as fall camp moved along, he slid on coach Travis Fisher's depth chart.
"Will Jackson has been a bit of a slow-blinker right now," Fisher recently said. “He’s still struggling with learning the playbook. Right now, he’s learning and doing a good job of learning but he’s not there. It’s sometimes not an easy deal for some guys. He will get it. He’s coming in extra and watching film. He’s got the right mindset."
Asked if the junior would factor into a rotation, Fisher said maybe.
“Everything is earned, nothing is given. If he’s not at the top of that production chart by the end of camp then no, [he won’t rotate in], but if he is, then yes.”
Jackson's loss will hurt from a physical standpoint. At 6-foot-3, he rivals Lamar Jackson as the team's longest corner. His departure also drops the team to six scholarship corners and 82 total scholarship players (including Dominick Watt).
Entering camp, the secondary was, for defensive coordinator Erik Chinander, one of the more worrisome units on the team. But new additions have added a level of competition to the room that has the staff feeling good about where they are just under two weeks out from the Sept. 1 season-opener against Akron.
"I thought they’d make a big jump, we thought some of those additions would be good, the best part is the guys that were here before, the older guys, they kind of fed of the competition the new guys brought, so they kind of made a big jump along with the new guys," Chinander said Monday. "They’ve given us some depth and some guys challenging for starting spots."
One new arrival who has far exceeded expectations is freshman Cam Taylor. Taylor played quarterback in high school, and the expectation might have been for him to take some time to adjust to corner. Chinander said early in camp it looked as if Taylor had played the position his entire life.
"When we go into people’s homes, Coach [Scott] Frost always talks about how it’s not always the most talented players as freshmen, it’s the guys that come in and attack, jump in both feet first and have a maturity about yourself," Chinander said. "That’s what he’s done.
"He’s figured it out, been mature through the whole process, acted like a veteran and he competes like crazy every day. Right or wrong, win or lose, he competes every rep. He’s brought an edge to that room."
Fisher said Monday that Taylor's play makes him forget that the corner is still just a freshman. He acts and plays like he's been there, done that. Taylor has risen up the depth chart, perhaps as a detriment to Jackson's standing.
Another fast-riser has been fellow freshman Braxton Clark. Fisher said Monday that Clark is up there in terms of most camp interceptions.
"For him to come so far, so quick, that’s excellent," Fisher said.
Walk-on sophomore Ethan Cox is also pushing for playing time, along with last year's contributors in Lamar Jackson, Dicaprio Bootle and Eric Lee Jr.
"Guys are making it hard for me," Fisher said. "I got like six or seven guys to be honest with you. That’s the way I wanted it. When you talked to me in the spring, I had one guy. Maybe one and a possible [other]. Now I have six or seven guys."
It just doesn't appear Will Jackson is one of them.
This story will be updated as more is known.