Fall camp for the Nebraska football team is in full swing and the Huskers have officially completed their first full week of practices. According to the coaching staff, the theme of this camp is competition. And Coach Scott Frost put a nice bow on the week of positive storylines.
— Hail Varsity (@HailVarsity) August 9, 2019
Of all the players mentioned by the coaching staff and teammates over the last week, who is standing out? Let’s take a look at which newcomers’ stock is up right now after Week 1.
Defensive back Quinton Newsome
The Georgia native has garnered early praise for his maturity, quick feet and willingness to dive right in. Defensive backs coach Travis Fisher was pleased with Newsome this week.
“Quinton Newsome is doing a very good job of practicing with the two group,” defensive backs coach Travis Fisher said on Monday. “He’s playing at corner. He’s solid in the two group. Myles Farmer and Noa Pola-Gates are also with that two group. [At cornerback], you have a 1, a 1a and a 1b. Quinton Newsome at the end of camp could easily be a 1a. Quinton Newsome can go.”
The type of player that Nebraska saw down at North Gwinnet High School seems to have shown up in Lincoln. It seems like only a matter of time before Husker fans are seeing Newsome make plays like he did in high school.
It will be interesting to track Newsome’s progress through the rest of camp. Will he hit a wall as scrimmages start or more of the defense gets installed? Those are key questions to answer before judging how quickly he will get on the field.
Running back Dedrick Mills
One of my favorite quotes from fall camp came from senior defensive tackle Darrion Daniels when describing Mills running the football.
“I had a little pent-up aggression against him the first day because we were in helmets and that’s it and he was running through the hole like we got full pads on,” Daniels said. “The way he runs the ball you can tell that he’s running for a bigger purpose.”
That sounds like a guy that built for Big Ten football.
Running backs coach Ryan Held described Mills as a hammer. The Garden City Community College transfer has been exactly what the Huskers were hoping for his first week as a Husker. At Garden City, Mills made plays that showed his skills as a powerful runner. There aren’t any highlights online of that season but here is a clip from his time at Georgia Tech that shows what he can do.
I don’t think Mills will be a fun camp story that we lose track of once the season starts. Nebraska is counting on him to be the real deal. So far, he is exceeding expectations.
Quarterback Luke McCaffrey
I am aware that Nebraska is the home of Heisman candidate Adrian Martinez (too early to say that?). I also don’t believe there a player in the conference at the position that could challenge Martinez. But the praise for the latest McCaffrey to enter college football has also been high.
“He’s doing a nice job,” quarterbacks coach Mario Verduzco said. “The day before yesterday we wanted to give him some reps with the ones. Boy, he really did a nice job. He really did. He’s doing really well.”
McCaffrey seems to have an innate ability with the football in his hands to make plays. This is why Frost described him as potentially being “hell on wheels” when things click.
Verduzco and Frost saw something in McCaffrey. He sat behind his brother Dylan—and then another Division I quarterback—before getting the job full-time in high school. There are still things to clean up with his mechanics, but his early deep knowledge of the playbook will make faster decisions on the field.
McCaffrey’s next test will be attempting to unseat Noah Vedral as the backup quarterback.
Greg is the Recruiting Analyst for Hail Varsity and has covered Husker athletics since 2013. He has always had a passion for sports while growing up in the Chicago area. As he got older and had to hang up his cleats and sneakers, he realized his passion for sports went beyond just watching and attending games. He has covered many events from the Rose Bowl to championship boxing matches. If he’s not talking sports, he’s hovering over his grill. He is married to an amazing woman, Kim, and they have a dog that barks when Greg yells at the TV during games.