Spring preview: Defensive line has big shoes to fill this spring
With spring practice beginning next week, HuskerOnline.com begins our in-depth look at each position with our 2020 spring position previews.
We continue today by taking a look at the defensive line heading into spring practice.
What we know right now: Huskers have some big shoes to fill
As Nebraska gets ready to open up spring practice, perhaps no position group will have bigger shoes to fill than the defensive line.
Gone are veterans Darrion Daniels, Carlos Davis and Khalil Davis, who all recently just took part in the NFL Combine.
However, even without these three players, the Huskers do have 10 scholarship defensive linemen on campus for spring practice, and they'll add another three when Fall Camp opens in August.
Leading the way will be senior Ben Stille, who's been an on and off starter for the better part of the last three seasons. They will need Stille to anchor down one of the two defensive end spots. It's been an adjustment for Stille to develop his body to play in the 3-4, but this should be a year where he has a chance to put up some pretty big numbers.
After Stille, juniors Deontre Thomas and Damion Daniels, along with sophomore Casey Rogers all bring some playing experience to the table. Redshirt freshman Ty Robinson is also expected to rise quickly and contend for a starting job this spring.
The key will be finding the right group of eight to 10 guys Tony Tuioti wants to work with this season. With one more junior college player coming this summer, we won't have all the answers after spring ball.
It is a big positive that Jordon Riley is on campus for the spring, and this will also be the first time we get a good look at Keem Green, after his transitional redshirt season in 2019.
Biggest question to answer: Who will start at nose?
The nose tackle position probably remains the biggest mystery going into the spring. Both Darrion Daniels and Carlos Davis held that down last season for the Huskers.
The question now is can Damion Daniels take on more of a workload in 2020, or will his size limit his overall snap count? Daniels only played more than 23 snaps once last season, and averaged just under 16 snaps per game in 2019. Can they get him closer to 25 snaps per game in 2020?
Then what will Green be able to provide at the nose? He showed flashes in 2019, but his body was not quite ready for Big Ten play yet. There's also a chance we could see Green at defensive end as well.
It will be a bonus having Riley on campus and to see what he can do. Between these three players, you hope NU can piece together a solid rotation at the nose position.
There's also still the chance that Robinson could play some nose as well in 2020.
Spring darkhorse: Can Newsom make a move this spring?
Of the 10 scholarship defensive linemen NU will have to work with this spring, redshirt freshman Mosai Newsom remains one of the bigger mysteries going into the spring.
What type of jump will Newsom make after his redshirt season? He's done a good job of developing his body this past year, and it will be interesting to see where he's at after the spring.
Also, this is a make or break type spring for both junior Chris Walker and sophomore Tate Wildeman. Both players are now going into their third and fourth years on campus, and we still don't have much of a read on either.
Projected Spring DL Depth Chart
1 - Ben Stille
2 - Casey Rogers
3 - Chris Walker
1 - Damion Daniels
2 - Keem Green
OR Jordon Riley
1 - Deontre Thomas
OR Ty Robinson
2 - Mosai Newsom
3 - Tate Wildeman