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Nebraska Cornhuskers safety Deontai Williams eacts after being called for targeting
Photo Credit: Ohio State Athletics

Nebraska Recruiting: Impact of Returning Seniors Trickles Down for Huskers

January 13, 2021

Recruiting never stops and it’s easy to miss the top stories day-to-day. Recruiting analyst Greg Smith recaps all things Nebraska recruiting news, analysis and more so you never miss a thing.

The good news for Nebraska’s defense just keeps on rolling in.

Wednesday saw the announcements that safeties Marquel Dismuke and Deontai Williams would be returning to school. The news comes on the heels of outside linebacker JoJo Domann electing to return. Defensive back Cam Taylor-Britt also decided to not enter the NFL Draft to return to school. The Blackshirts are on a roll.

The return of Dismuke and Williams helps the Huskers in the near and short term. For the 2021 season the latest news ensures that Nebraska will return its top two safeties from last season. The pair combined for 98 total tackles and eight tackles for loss during the eight-game 2020 campaign. Not having to worry about replacing that production is a big deal.

Where the trickle-down effect starts is that Nebraska is thin behind those two. Myles Farmer has as much potential as anyone in the program but is coming off a big leg injury. He’ll need time to recover. Noa Pola-Gates is still developing and contributed on special teams last season. Isaac Gifford has been a nice surprise but might need more seasoning too. None will be forced into playing bigger roles if they aren’t ready now.

Along those same lines the Huskers can stay on a normal development timeline with the defensive backs from the 2021 recruiting class. Koby Bretz seems most likely to start his career out playing safety. But the way that defensive backs coach Travis Fisher uses his group, it wouldn’t be surprising to see either Marques Buford or Malik Williams end up at safety.

This shouldn’t change too much as it relates to 2022 defensive back recruiting. That position will be among the top priorities for the Huskers in that cycle despite having some young, talented players on the team currently. Continuing to build depth is always needed.

One other big aspect of these announcements is the boost in morale. The offseason has been a mixed bag of good and bad news. But players returning for an extra year at least signals that some are hungry to be part of the turnaround in Lincoln. That’s important to see for both players and the fan base.

The Husker defense has improved steadily under defensive coordinator Erik Chinander. With so much returning production and maybe more on the way, the unit has the potential to be pretty good in 2021. They are also now more well positioned for the future.

Recruit Watch

>> Bellevue West 2022 tight end Micah Riley picked up an offer from Georgia Tech on Wednesday.

>> Huskers priority 2022 offensive target Brenen Thompson was looking for Husker fans on Wednesday.

>> Lewis Central linebacker Wyatt Hatcher added another offer when South Dakota threw its hat in the ring.


>> Check out our video of John Cook talking Huskers’ preseason ranking, roster and more.

>> The Hail Varsity staff is back to answer several offensive-related questions in the mailbag this week.

>> The Mind Your Own podcast is back to explore the question of was it worth it?

>> In Padding the Stats, Jacob Padilla looks into what it means when Wan’Dale leaves.

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