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Nebraska’s Depth Chart Coming Into Focus Ahead of Ohio State

October 20, 2020

Coach Scott Frost said on Monday that he didn’t anticipate releasing much of a depth chart ahead of Nebraska’s matchup with Ohio State, but some positions are coming into view. Nebraska fans already know who’s starting at quarterback against the Buckeyes, but what about other spots?

On Tuesday, running backs coach Ryan Held said Ronald Thompkins is Nebraska’s No. 2 running back right now behind Dedrick Mills. The news on Thompkins is a big one for the Georgia native, especially considering his journey so far. Thompkins has already had to overcome three knee surgeries in his career, which includes two in high school.

“He’s a slasher,” Held said. “He’s got the ability to make cuts. He’s got tremendous hands . . . He’s one of the better guys on our football team catching the ball.”

Mills agreed, saying Thompkins has “great vision” and that’s he’s a workhorse.

Held also shared some information about kickoff returners, saying “there’s some different guys who will be back there.” He named Rahmir Johnson, Cam Taylor-Britt, Wan’Dale Robinson, Marcus Fleming and Brody Belt as options.

As for the outside linebacker spot, position coach Mike Dawson knows his room is young but also said that it can’t matter in 2020.

“The reality is we don’t have time to be young,” he said. “. . . We’re going to have to show up and play hard and fast and we’re going to have to do it very, very quickly.”

The top guys at the position, per defensive coordinator Erik Chinander, are JoJo Domann, Caleb Tannor, Garrett Nelson, Pheldarius Payne, Nick Henrich and Niko Cooper. Dawson wasn’t willing to give up too much more on his position group beyond that.

Nebraska may not be handing out a depth chart just yet, but positions are starting to come into focus. Tuesday was another step toward what to expect for Nebraska in 2020.

More news and notes:

>> Mills is expected to be the bell cow for Nebraska at running back. What is he ready for?

“Anything they’re ready to give me,” Mills said.

Also, this:

>> Both Dawson and Chinander talked about Henrich being “a natural football player.” Dawson

“He does a great job of taking what he learns in the classroom and bringing it to the field without a lot of repetition,” Dawson said.

Chinander also added that he needs to be on the field somewhere this season.

>> Will Nebraska use its tight ends more in 2020?

“We’re going to use our tight ends pretty significantly,” tight end Travis Vokolek said.

>> No fans? No problem.

“We’re going in focused on the game,” Vokolek said.

>> Nebraska junior outside linebacker Damian Jackson is one of 38 individuals nominated for the 2020 Armed Forces Merit Award presented by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). Nebraska shared the news on Tuesday. He was one of five finalists for the 2019 Armed Forces Merit Award, and is one of only eight active college players nominated for the 2020 award.

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