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Freshman walk-on ILB Reimer making Huskers take notice

Nebraska held its first major scrimmage of fall camp on Saturday, and sophomore defensive back Cam Taylor found himself asking himself time and again who the heck was No. 28?

Taylor quickly realized that No. 28 was freshman walk-on linebacker Luke Reimer, who made it hard for anyone not to take notice as he made play after play in the scrimmage.

“Every day when he’s at practice he’s giving it his all,” Taylor said of Reimer. “I see him dying, he’s tired, and he’s still giving it his all, fighting to get through blocks and things like that. We saw him in the scrimmage and we’re like, “Who’s 28? Who is that?’ He’s a walk-on and things like that, but man, he won’t be a walk on for long…

“What wasn’t he doing? He was getting through blocks, fighting off everything and just making big plays that a black shirt would make. I believe that he’ll get that and that he’ll get that scholarship and be full (go) with us.”

True freshman walk-on Luke Reimer has played his way into the discussion for a spot in Nebraska's inside linebacker rotation.
True freshman walk-on Luke Reimer has played his way into the discussion for a spot in Nebraska's inside linebacker rotation. (Nate Clouse)

Defensive coordinator Erik Chinander and inside linebacker Barrett Ruud have seen all of the same flashes from Reimer, and they said the former Lincoln (Neb.) North Star standout was currently working with the second-team defense as the No. 4 ILB.

Ruud said Reimer only weighed 185 pounds as a senior in high school but was already up to a solid 6-1, 215. Looking back, Ruud can’t help but kick himself a bit for not recruiting Reimer as a scholarship target.

"We knew we would get an athlete, I guess we didn’t know how good of a football player he’d be yet," Ruud said. "His instincts have been awesome. Kind of off-the-charts instincts, really, where he’s a guy that will make a mistake but he’ll make a mistake in a right spot and he’ll make a tackle in the same play...

"I almost feel bad that a guy 10 minutes down the road was this good and we didn’t quite know how to project him... He’s really been a pleasant surprise and a big time score for us."

Reimer ended up with 74 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, and a sack last year for the Navigators, earning Super-State honors from the Lincoln Journal Star.

Originally a native of Ashland, Kan., Reimer was a long-time verbal commit to South Dakota State but decided to reopen his recruitment and walk-on at Nebraska.

He held other offers from Buffalo, Northern Iowa, South Dakota, and North Dakota, but he opted to come to Lincoln and take a chance with the Huskers.

For Chinander, what impresses him about Reimer the most is how, even as a true freshman walk-on, he plays with the exact fearless mindset that Chinander and head coach Scott Frost want from all of NU’s players.

"I think he’s the epitome of what Coach Frost talks about, not dipping your foot in and diving all the way in the deep water," Chinander said. "He’s wrong a lot, but dang he finds the football. He embodies the desire to excel, no fear of failure. Whether he’s right or wrong on the call he’s going to make the tackle. He’s done a lot of nice things."