Ruud excited about Honas's potential at LB
When Nebraska takes the field for their second spring practice on Tuesday, one of the newcomers expected to make an early impact is junior college transfer linebacker Will Honas.
The El Dorado (Kan.) Bulter C.C. product earned high praise from linebackers coach Barrett Ruud at the recruiting dinner this past February in Lincoln.
Ruud called Honas his "handpicked" guy, as NU beat out Iowa, Wisconsin and Kansas State for Honas, who is regarded as the top linebacker in all of junior college football for the class of 2018.
Honas has been on campus since January, and Ruud said he's had a very good winter.
"As far as the effort, on and off the field, that part, he's been great," Ruud said of Honas. "He's getting straight A's in school. He's constantly in my meeting room. He's doing great in the weight room. All reports I'm getting, so far have been good. Now we go to the grass - it's the next step.
"It's all about taking everything you do to the classroom, in the weight room and the walk-throughs - because now we've got the translation to the field. Now it's just the next step, but so far, he's doing a great job."
Honas will be one of six scholarship inside linebackers Ruud will have this spring, joining Dedrick Young, Mohamed Barry, Avery Roberts, Willie Hampton and Andrew Ward.
Both Young and Barry have taken starter-level snaps in their career, so Honas should enter a pretty good competition.
He also is not your typical junior college athlete, as he was a full qualifier out of Wichita (Kan.) Bishop Carroll, but went the JC route after suffering an injury his senior season.
Honas is the perfect example of why it's important to recruit the junior college ranks, as there are several under the radar guys like him that emerge each year.
"Coach (Ryan) Held did a great job of initially finding Will (Honas), and said, 'Hey, I got a kid at Butler. He's JC Linebacker,' he goes. 'But he's a 4.0 qualifier, and he's still a 4.0 student.' That made a big difference for me because if you can't make the calls and the checks, no matter how good you are, you can't play. He's the type of guy that mainly can handle all those responsibilities."
With such a veteran group returning at inside linebacker, it will be interesting to see what Ruud can do with them this spring. His playing background from Nebraska and the NFL has gotten the players attention already.
"He has accomplished many things that I want to accomplish," Barry said. "I can’t say that I won’t go against his teachings at all because I’m stubborn at times, but I know that I have to listen to him and that he knows what he is doing. He’s been there and he can give me a players perspective. He’s not so detached from the game as a player so he can give me the players perspective as a player right now. So I understand it, and he shows us a lot of clips from the league and then gives us a players insight rather than a coaches.”