Nebraska Cornhuskers inside linebacker Chris Kolarevic defending against tight end Evan Meyersick during practice
Photo Credit: John Peterson

Nebraska Football Roster Reset: Defense

May 25, 2021

With spring ball in the rear-view mirror and the bulk of the post-spring defections likely to have already taken place, now seems like a good time to take a look at the Nebraska roster and evaluate here the Huskers stand from a roster standpoint.

We ran through the scholarship and walk-on bodies at each position on offense on Sunday. Today, it’s the defense’s turn.

Defensive Line (18)

Scholarship (14): Ben Stille (sixth-year senior), Damion Daniels (fifth-year junior), Deontre Thomas (fifth-year junior), Jordon Riley (fifth-year junior), Chris Walker (fifth-year junior), Casey Rogers (fourth-year sophomore), Tate Wildeman (fourth-year sophomore), Ty Robinson (third-year freshman), Mosai Newsom (third-year freshman), Jamin Graham (third-year freshman), Nash Hutmacher (second-year freshman), Marquis Black (second-year freshman), Ru’Quan Buckley (first-year freshman), Jailen Weaver (first-year freshman)

Walk-on (4): Colton Feist (fourth-year sophomore), Jacob Herbek (third-year freshman), Baylor Brannen (second-year freshman), Maddox Burton (first-year freshman)

Departures (2): Keem Green (scholarship), Ben Lingenfelter (walk-on)

*Note: Tony Tuioti spoke highly of Colton Feist, the walk-on out of Yutan, and he could be on the shortlist to receive a scholarship.

Outside Linebacker (14)

Scholarship (7): JoJo Domann (sixth-year senior), Caleb Tannor (fourth-year junior), Pheldarius Payne (fourth-year junior), David Alston (fourth-year sophomore), Garrett Nelson (third-year sophomore), Blaise Gunnerson (second-year freshman), Jimari Butler (second-year freshman)

Walk-on (7): Damian Jackson (fifth-year junior), Simon Otte (fourth-year sophomore), Ryan Schommer (fourth-year sophomore), Nick Leader (third-year freshman), Eli Richter (third-year freshman), John Bullock (third-year freshman), Sam Shurtleff (third-year freshman)

Departures (1): Niko Cooper (scholarship)

*Note: Scott Frost placed Damian Jackson on scholarship last year, but I’m assuming that wasn’t permanent.

Inside Linebacker (18)

Scholarship (11): Will Honas (sixth-year senior), Chris Kolarevic (fourth-year junior), Eteva Mauga-Clements (fifth-year junior), Luke Reimer (third-year sophomore), Nick Henrich (third-year freshman), Garrett Snodgrass (third-year freshman), Jackson Hannah (third-year freshman), Randolph Kpai (first-year freshman), Wynden Ho’ohuli (first-year freshman), Seth Malcom (first-year freshman), Mikai Gbayor (first-year freshman)

Walk-on (7): Zach Schlager (fourth-year sophomore), Jake Archer (fourth-year sophomore), Chris Cassidy (fourth-year sophomore), Garrett Hustedt (third-year freshman), Grant Tagge (second-year freshman), Braden Klover (second-year freshman), Grant Buda (first-year freshman)

Departures (3): Collin Miller (scholarship), Caden McCormack (walk-on), Drew Monin (walk-on)

*Note: Unlike Jackson, Luke Reimer — the walk-on who earned a scholarship heading into 2020 — looks to be heading into the 2021 season as a starter so I’m assuming his scholarship is permanent.

Safety (9)

Scholarship (6): Deontai Williams (sixth-year senior), Marquel Dismuke (sixth-year senior), Myles Farmer (third-year freshman), Noa Pola-Gates (third-year freshman), Javin Wright (third-year freshman), Isaac Gifford (second-year freshman)

Walk-on (3): Lane McCallum (fifth-year junior), Tyson Guzman (third-year freshman), Mason Nieman (second-year freshman)

Departures (0): none

Cornerback (6)

Scholarship (5): Cam Taylor-Britt (fourth-year junior), Braxton Clark (fourth-year sophomore), Nadab Joseph (fourth-year sophomore), Quinton Newsome (third-year sophomore), Tamon Lynum (second-year freshman)

Walk-on (1): Phalen Sanford (fourth-year sophomore)

Departures: Dicaprio Bootle (scholarship), Bradley Bunner (walk-on)

Defensive Back (11)

*Note: The roster includes several players listed as defensive backs rather than cornerbacks or safeties, and instead of guessing I’m listing them on their own here.

Scholarship (3): Marques Buford (first-year freshman), Malik Williams (first-year freshman), Koby Bretz (first-year freshman)

Walk-on (8): Darius Moore (fourth-year junior), Ashton Hausmann (second-year freshman), Michael Booker III (first-year freshman), Derek Branch (first-year freshman), AJ Collins (first-year freshman), Blake Closman (first-year freshman), Payton Wheeler (first-year freshman), Christian Lilienkamp (first-year freshman)

Departures (0): none

Overview (76)

Scholarship: 46

Walk-on: 30

*Note: Nebraska’s five returning seniors (Stille, Domann, Honas, Williams and Dismuke) do not count towards the 2021-22 scholarship limit, which effectively drops Nebraska to 41 scholarship defenders.

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