Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Nebraska Continues the Rebuild of Defensive Line With Alabama Transfer

May 22, 2022

Even after the addition of Devin Drew from the transfer portal, the Nebraska football team was still in need of another big, strong body to play on the interior of its defensive line following the offseason departures of Casey Rogers and Jordon Riley, both of whom transferred to Oregon to play under their old d-line coach, Tony Tuioti.

The Huskers continued the rebuild of their d-line through the portal with the commitment of Stephon Wynn Jr., a 6-foot-4, 307-pounder who spent the past four seasons at Alabama and has two seasons of eligibility left.

Wynn, a former four-star and top-100 recruit in the 2018 class according to the 247Sports Composite, was mostly a depth player for the Crimson Tide during his career in Tuscaloosa. He played in 21 games while recording 13 tackles. This past season he played in seven contests and racked up five stops.

While at Alabama, Wynn played the zero technique along its d-line, lining head-up on the center and often taking on double teams while defending both A gaps, or the spaces between the center and guards.

What’s it means for Nebraska?

Following the transfer of Rogers in late April, things weren’t looking good for the Huskers’ interior d-line. Depth and experience lacked. Counting Rogers, that position lost a combined five starters and contributors from last year, including Ben Stille, Damion Daniels, Deontre Thomas and Riley, who didn’t factor into the mix much in 2021 but was presumed to be in the rotation in 2022.

Nebraska knew the situation and did something about it, using the transfer portal as the main weapon. 

The addition of Wynn brings instant size, power and run-stuffing ability to the middle of the Husker d-line, things that are needed since Daniels moved on and Nash Hutmacher continues to develop. Though Wynn spent four seasons at Alabama and never started, he was stuck behind NFL-bound teammates like Phidarian Mathis, Christian Barmore, Raekwon Davis and Tim Smith.

Earlier this spring, defensive coordinator Erik Chinander detailed how important it is for a defense to have a quality d-linemen in the program.

“It doesn’t matter what defense you play in, doesn’t matter what league you play in, if you don’t have good defensive linemen you’ll never be good on defense,” Chinander said. “So I think those guys are very, very critical to your success no matter where you’re at, whether it’s high school, whether it’s the NFL, whether it’s college, whether it’s the Big Ten, ACC, SEC, doesn’t matter. Those guys are super, super critical to the success of the defense.”

Nebraska now has better depth on the inside with Wynn, who joins veterans with Power Five-starting experience in Ty Robinson and Drew, a 280-pounder who spent two seasons starting at Texas Tech and was an All-American at Iowa Western Community College before that. Wynn is the 14th Division I transfer Nebraska has taken this offseason.

The Huskers would still like to see others emerge as contributors from an inexperienced but intriguing group that includes Hutmacher, walk-on Colton Feist, Mosai Newsom, Ru’Quan Buckley and others.

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