5 Huskers poised to breakout this fall: Defense
Nebraska’s 2018 fall camp is officially underway, which means the window has opened for some players to make a big jump up the depth chart.
Here are five Huskers on defense who we think are poised to breakout during camp and establish themselves as key pieces this season.
Damion Daniels, DL, RFr.
Daniels nearly became one of the rare true freshmen defensive linemen to play right away at Nebraska last season, but the previous staff was able to hold off and preserve his redshirt.
That was definitely a nice gift for new head coach Scott Frost and his staff, as the former three-star recruit out of Dallas, Texas, made massive physical gains in his year off, particularly over the past seven months.
Daniels is now up to a listed 6-2, 340, a whopping 30 pounds bigger from last season’s roster. That added bulk and strength should help make him a top contender to be the No. 2 nose tackle behind senior Mick Stoltenberg.
Breon Dixon, OLB, So.
When the NCAA ruled that Dixon and several other former Ole Miss players would be eligible to play this season, Nebraska's defense instantly changed as a result.
A unique talent with the power to play the run as a linebacker and the speed to cover like a defensive back, Dixon brings a hybrid element to the Huskers that few, if any, other players can replicate.
He will have every opportunity to be a starter from Day 1 and should have a large and versatile role all year.
Tyrin Ferguson, OLB, Jr.
After seeing immediate action in 10 games as a true freshman, Ferguson's impact has been few and far between the past three seasons.
He ended up redshirting his second year in 2016, and then only played in five games with three total tackles in 2017.
But the change in defensive scheme this offseason could benefit Ferguson as much as anyone, as he generated strong praise from his coaches this spring - particularly from outside linebackers coach Jovan Dewitt - and looks poised to be a major factor as a junior.
Will Honas, ILB, Jr.
Honas arrived on campus regarded by many as the most likely 2018 newcomer to make an immediate impact this season, and he definitely backed that up with his play this spring.
The El Dorado (Kan.) Butler C.C. transfer was ranked as the nation's top junior college linebacker, and NU linebackers coach Barrett Ruud referred to Honas as his "hand-picked" guy on Signing Day.
As it stands, Honas is in a tight battle with Mohamed Barry for a starting job, but he should see a major role regardless of whether he starts or not.
Deontai Williams, DB, So.
Williams was added to Nebraska's safety mix this offseason with the specific chore of providing instant depth at the position. Based on his play in the spring, he may be well on his way to doing that and much more.
The JUCO transfer instantly opened eyes in practice with his hard-hitting physicality, to the point where the coaches had to tell him to tone it down a bit at one point.
A versatile player who could see snaps at safety, nickel or cornerback, Williams will see the field early and often in 2018.