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LB Roberts Out a Few Weeks, Door Open for WR Johnson’s Return

June 24, 2017

Nebraska Coach Mike Riley met with the media for a few minutes after the conclusion of a star-studded Friday Night Lights camp that drew thousands of Huskers fans to Memorial Stadium.

A couple of non-recruiting notes from Friday:

>> Nebraska will be down a linebacker for a portion of the summer as true freshman inside linebacker Avery Roberts is in a walking boot and could miss up to six weeks following a foot injury.

“He sprained some ligaments in his foot,” Riley said. “It might be a six-week process. We think that he’ll be ready hopefully for the start of camp. It was disappointing; it happened during a workout one afternoon.”

Roberts enrolled in January, took part in spring practice and made a dent in the depth chart quickly behind two upperclassmen.  He had six tackles for the Red team in Nebraska’s spring game on April 15.

>> Nebraska’s wide receiver depth also took a hit this month with freshman Keyshawn Johnson Jr. taking a leave of absence from the team with the hope of returning in January. Riley spoke briefly about his departure.

“There are actually a lot of variables there,” Riley said. “We are disappointed that he’s not here with us right now today. I think that there’s kind of a wellness factor for Keyshawn going home. We talked to him about the possibility of maybe enrolling part-time, taking care of his progress toward his degree and also in getting in great shape, and we opened the door for a return, which is just kind of left open, that we’ll deal with at the time that he is physically and mentally ready to do that. We have an open door and we have no set date. I don’t think it will be this fall, but that’s where we are right now.”

Johnson, a 4-star recruit in the 2017 class, enrolled in January but was limited through much of the spring due to recovery from an illness he suffered near the end of his high school season. He was cited by campus police for marijuana possession on June 10.

>> Riley confirmed that Johnson and linebacker Greg Simmons are the only two players to have left the team at this point.

>> Former Notre Dame assistant coach Scott Booker joined Nebraska’s staff as a special teams consultant in March, about a month after Nebraska had hired Booker’s Notre Dame colleague, Bob Elliott, to coach safeties. Earlier this week, Riley announced that Elliott was stepping away from his on-field duties and named Booker his replacement, which made for relatively easy coaching transition.

“I was so thankful, in a really rough situation with Coach Elliott that we are still hopeful that he gets back soon to help us, we are so thankful Scott Booker was here,” Riley said. “It was like we had him as a consultant that ended up being a long-term interview. Getting to know Scott, watching him do his work, watching him work with our coaches, preparing our coaches as a consultant, it was a no-brainer for me when I had to deal with the rough situation with Coach Elliott.”

“I think it was seamless that way,” Riley continued. “The fact that he has played defense, coached defense for half of his coaching career life, and then is familiar with Coach Diaco – they’ve worked on the same staff together – and has coached all the special teams, we were fortunate.”

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