Luke Reimer tackles Ohio State player
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Nebraska Film Study: Linebacker Luke Reimer

June 07, 2020

Nebraska had 46 true freshmen on its roster last season. Only four of them played enough to burn their redshirts: Wan’Dale Robinson, Garrett Nelson, Quinton Newsome and… walk-on linebacker Luke Reimer.

The 6-foot-1, 220-pound inside linebacker from Lincoln North Star was originally headed to South Dakota State before decommitting to walk on at Nebraska instead. He played in 10 games as a true freshman. Most of his playing time came on special teams, though he saw action on defense against Ohio State and Maryland as well.

Reimer was a big part of Nebraska’s kickoff coverage team. He made his debut week two against Colorado, sat out week three against Northern Illinois then played in every game the rest of the way.

Reimer recovered a fumble against the Buffaloes and also recorded five tackles on the kickoff team—one each against Indiana, Purdue, Wisconsin, Maryland and Iowa. Reimer is a tremendous athlete whose speed makes him a great asset on coverage teams. He did a great job of filling his lane, taking on blockers then shedding them to get to the ball and make the tackle.

On defense, Reimer saw a total of 14 snaps (not including one kneel-down by Ohio State) and he recorded a tackle on six of them, a remarkable rate. Reimer just seems to have a nose for the ball and a knack for making plays.

He made his debut on defense in Nebraska’s 48-7 loss to Ohio State, recording three tackles.

Reimer checked in midway through the last drive of the game, lining up at the right inside linebacker spot––to the boundary side in this case––on second-and-6. Ohio State called a run up the middle with tailback Marcus Crowley and Reimer quickly diagnosed it.

Reimer shot forward and attacked the B-gap, looking to split the left guard and left tackle as quarterback Chris Chugunov gave the ball to Crowley.

The tackle pushed by Keem Green and tried to chip Reimer but the linebacker shrugged it off and kept going.

Reimer got through the line and dove sideways at Crowley’s legs. The running back tried to run through it but Reimer wouldn’t let go, dragging him down.

Crowley fell forward and picked up 4 yards, but Reimer still managed to make a play as soon as he set foot on the field.

The Buckeyes converted on third down, and on the following play Reimer showed his speed by getting off a block away from the play and chasing down Crowley for an assisted tackle with safety Eric Lee Jr. 6 yards downfield.

Ohio State ran it again on the next play. This time, Reimer attacked the A-gap.

The center tried to get to the next level to block Reimer, but the linebacker ran right by him as Crowley took the handoff.

Once Reimer burst through the line he planted his feet and dove sideways at Crowley. It’s never good for an offense when the guy who was supposed to block someone ends up turned around and reaching helplessly as you see with the center below. Poor guy.

Reimer grabbed Crowley’s legs and held on tight, pulling him down for a 2-yard gain.

So Reimer checked in for four true defensive snaps and made a tackle on three of them. Not too shabby for his first time out there.

Reimer got two series against Maryland and showed he can drop into coverage as well as stop the run. Reimer added three more tackles including his first tackle for loss (in addition to his stop on special teams) in Nebraska’s 54-7 win.

Reimer checked in at the 12:10 mark of the fourth quarter with the Huskers leading 47-0, playing the same position as he did against the Buckeyes. Once again, Reimer made a tackle on his first snap, stuffing running back Javon Leake on a cut-back attempt for no gain. The Terrapins sent all their blocking to the right and left Reimer unblocked but he maintained discipline instead of getting sucked in and was ready to make the play.

The second play was a quick throw to the sideline. Braxton Clark made the tackle as soon as his man caught it for a meager 3-yard gain, but Reimer showed off his hustle by rallying to the ball… and diving on top of the receiver.

On third-and-7, Reimer got his first chance to drop into coverage.

Maryland lined up with three receivers to the right and one to the left. On the snap, Leake ran a route out of the backfield and Reimer dropped back to cover him. The inside receiver worked his way up the field while the second receiver, Brian Cobbs, went over the middle.

Maryland quarterback Josh Jackson hit Cobbs near the 45-yard line and the receiver turned it upfield. Reimer quickly realized his man wasn’t a target and peeled off to pursue Cobbs.

Joseph Johnson tried to take Cobbs down but missed. Reimer put himself in position to cover for his fellow inside linebacker, though.

Reimer dove at Cobbs’s legs and took him down.

Reimer showed off how much ground he could cover, taking care of his own assignment then rallying to the ball to help a teammate and make a play.

The catch-and-run went for 12 yards, moving the chains, but Johnson made up for his missed tackle by forcing a fumble on the next play, which Clark recovered.

After another Nebraska touchdown, the defense took the field once again. Reimer lined up on the field side, which was still to the right on first and 10.

Reimer started moving forward and quickly diagnosed the play as Jackson handed the ball off to Leake sweeping across.

To steal a phrase from the coaches, Reimer “shot his guns,” sprinting forward as Isaiah Stalbird took on the blocking wide receiver, DaiShon Neal occupied the left tackle and Fyn Anderson slowed down the left guard enough to prevent him from reaching Reimer.

Reimer again showed off his speed, reaching Leake before the running back could turn the corner and make his way up field.

Once again, Reimer went for the legs and made a sure tackle, pulling down Leake for a loss of 4 yards. Reimer didn’t miss a single tackle opportunity on defense as a true freshman.

On the next play, Reimer moved over to the left side as the ball shifted to the opposite hash mark. Reimer stayed in the box for run support on two plays and dropped into coverage on two, leading up to the final play here.

On third-and-7, Reimer slid over to cover the slot receiver.

Reimer dropped into coverage, but Maryland called a run. Jackson handed the ball off to Leake as the slot receiver made contact with Reimer to block him, pushing him back a couple yards. With a blocker ahead of him to clear out the free defender, Leake ran right up the hash marks.

Reimer tried to get off the block, but the receiver wouldn’t let go. Sure looks like he’s being held, no?

Yep, definitely being held (unless it’s legal to tackle defenders like that).

Leake out-ran the deep defenders for a 58-yard touchdown. However, Reimer once again put himself in position to make a play. This time, he just happened to have a large turtle weighing him down.

Nebraska signed three scholarship inside linebackers in its 2019 recruiting class, and Reimer played more than all three of them in year one. It’s still a small sample size, but Reimer’s looked to display the mental, instinctive and physical traits needed to play linebacker at the Power Five level. Nebraska’s building up some real depth at inside linebacker and Reimer is part of that, putting him on the fast track towards earning a scholarship.

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