HuskerOnline - Northern Iowa LB transfer Chris Kolarevic fitting right in this spring
{{ timeAgo('2021-04-11 11:46:18 -0500') }} football Edit

Northern Iowa LB transfer Chris Kolarevic fitting right in this spring

You can go several different routes when trying to find a player in the transfer portal.

The most common is probably finding former highly-ranked recruits that don't work out at the school they signed with. However, another route that appears to be successful is finding productive players from the FCS ranks with proven stats and accolades that want a shot at the top level of college football.

Nebraska added two of those players this spring in Montana All-American wide receiver Samori Toure and Northern Iowa's leading tackler from 2019 - linebacker Chris Kolarevic.

Junior linebacker Chris Kolarevic.
Junior linebacker Chris Kolarevic. (Sean Callahan)

Both Toure and Kolarevic appear to be in the mix to earn starting jobs this spring. In NU's first scrimmage on Friday, there were multiple highlights shown of Toure, including a touchdown in the back of the end zone.

Meanwhile, the 6-foot-1, 230-pound Kolarevic has impressed several of his teammates with his approach.

"He's a stud. There is nothing but good things to say about him," sophomore linebacker Luke Reimer said of Kolarevic. "He has really good habits. You can tell he's played a lot of football, that he's a really good player and he's a really good dude."

As a sophomore in 2019, Kolarevic led Northern Iowa with 79 tackles to go along with 6.5 TFL's and two sacks in just 10 games.

He will help the Huskers replaced Collin Miller, who medically retired from the game this off-season after suffering a spinal injury vs. Illinois.

Kolarevic figures to factor right in with senior Will Honas, Reimer and redshirt freshman Nick Henrich in NU's inside linebacker rotation.

"He's been a great addition so far," defensive coordinator Erik Chinander said. "I was part of that league for a long time. There's extremely good football players in that league, extremely good football teams, and really good coaching. I know from the coaches that had him, his position coach, and the defensive coordinator. I'm friends with those guys, so I know what kind of player he is and what they've done with him in the past.

"He's a guy that you don't have to really teach necessarily the game of football. It's kind of learning a new language. He knows all the concepts and everything that's happening, it's just learning a new set of language as he moves from UNI's defense to our defense, but he's been great. It's been like a veteran, like getting a free agent in the NFL. I think that he's going to have a huge impact on the football team."

It's not just his approach though on the practice field that has impressed Nebraska's players and coaches.

Reimer mentioned his professional approach off the field as well. Little things like taking care of your body all matter at this level.

"He does all the right things that you expect for a college athlete to do," Reimer said.

Inside linebackers coach Barrett Ruud was impressed with the job Northern Iowa did developing Kolarevic.

His learning curve has been seamless for a newcomer, and that's going to put him in a great position to contribute in 2021.

"He was a great weight room guy, a great workout guy this off-season, and he understands the game," Ruud said. "He knows football, he knows concepts. He's got to learn our concepts now, but he's a guy that-- the game comes pretty naturally to him. They did a good job developing him before he got here, so you're kind of getting a little bit of a ready-made product as he got over here."