Nebraska Football's defensive lineman Jordan Riley Reaches for Northwestern's QB
Photo Credit: Eric Francis

Nebraska Defensive Tackle Jordon Riley Enters Name In Transfer Portal

January 28, 2022

Nebraska’s defensive line depth took a hit on Friday when it was confirmed that sixth-year lineman Jordon Riley entered his name in the transfer portal.

Riley, a 6-foot-6, 310-pounder from New Bern, N.C., was expected to step into a larger role in the Huskers’ defensive line rotation behind Ty Robinson and Casey Rogers. Riley, who spend the 2017 and 2018 seasons at North Carolina before going the junior-college route and playing for Garden City (Kan.) Community College, played in 10 games in 2021 and had seven tackles with one for a loss. Riley played in six games in the 2020 season, his first in Lincoln, and recorded one tackle.

The 6-6, 310-pound Robinson was a steady contributor in the rotation and started four games in 2021. He had a career-high 27 tackles with four for a loss and two sacks. He showed flashes of being versatile as a pass rusher and run defender.

Like Robinson, the 6-5, 295-pound Rogers will be expected to have a bigger role next season, and being fully healthy will help. The New York native faced adversity before the start of the 2021 season with an injury to his knee in fall camp, which forced him to miss the first five games. Rogers slowly worked his way back, though, and enjoyed strong performances late in the season with four tackles against Wisconsin and five against Iowa to go with half of a sack.

Riley was the Huskers’ 20th commitment in their 2020 recruiting class. He was also the fourth junior-college player in that class and the third defensive lineman, along with Nash Hutmacher and Marquis Black.

With Riley potentially out of the picture, Nebraska’s defensive interior will be leaning even more on Robinson and Rogers. Expect Hutmacher to take a bigger role in the unit, too.

Hutmacher, a fan favorite and owner of the “Polar Bear” nickname, showed flashes of being a strong inside presence on the Nebraska front. The South Dakota native’s strength and size at 6-4, 325 pounds fits perfectly with what he’s expected to do in the Husker defense: control two gaps and do the dirty work against offensive lines. That doesn’t usually generate eye-opening stats, but is still very important to a run defense.

Riley potentially joins other members of the Huskers’ d-line unit that have moved on from the program, including Damion Daniels, Ben Stille, Deontre Thomas and former position coach Tony Tuioti, who took the same job at Oregon earlier this offseason.

On Monday, Jan. 10, Nebraska announced that outside linebackers coach Mike Dawson, who coached the Husker d-line in 2018 before taking the New York Giants’ outside ‘backers job in 2019, would also coach the Huskers’ interior d-linemen.

What’s next for Nebraska? The Huskers will need to see development from young d-linemen who don’t have any experience playing in a college football game, including Marquis Black, Mosai Newsom, Ru’Quan Buckley and Jailen Weaver.

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