football Edit

Top 40 Huskers for 2018: 21-25

Voting Criteria: Player's importance to the team in 2018, overall talent, and future potential for the upcoming season. A player's long-term/NFL prospects were not taken into consideration.

Voting Panel: Publisher Sean Callahan, HuskerOnline.com staff Robin Washut, Nate Clouse, Mike Matya, and Gregg Peterson.

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25. Luke Gifford, OLB, Sr.

Gifford came into his own at linebacker halfway through last season, starting the first seven games and racking up a career-high 39 tackles along with 1.5 sacks and an interception.

An injury cut his junior campaign short, however, and his recovery forced him to miss all of spring practices. As a result, the Lincoln native is one of the biggest unknowns as to how he will factor into NU's new defense. If healthy, he has the tools to be a major contributor.

Ranking breakdown
Sean Robin Nate Mike Gregg

23rd

23rd

19th

34th

23rd

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24. Antonio Reed, S, Sr.

Reed's potential has never been a question, but the issue has been how long will it take for him to realize it?

The time is now for the senior safety, who could be an interesting piece in Erik Chinander's aggressive defensive scheme. He has the size (6-2, 210), athleticism, and physicality to be versatile weapon on the back end and potentially even in a hybrid linebacker role.

Ranking breakdown
Sean Robin Nate Mike Gregg

21st

31st

37th

17th

15th

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23. Lamar Jackson, CB, Jr.

Jackson came to Nebraska as the prized piece of its 2016 recruiting class, a four-star prospect ranked as the No. 1 safety in the country. But after two full seasons working as one of the Huskers’ top cornerbacks, he hasn’t come close to living up to all of the hype.

Jackson has posted 55 total tackles, one sack, and zero interceptions in 26 career games, but the hope is a switch to a more aggressive defensive scheme will help him finally realize his lofty potential.

Ranking breakdown
Sean Robin Nate Mike Gregg

26th

29th

22nd

24th

18th

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22. Deontai Williams, S, 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 this 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.

Ranking breakdown
Sean Robin Nate Mike Gregg

32nd

10th

27th

20th

28th

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21. Jack Stoll, TE, So.

Nebraska entered the start of spring practices with what looked to be a deep and wide-open tight end position. Following the spring game, Stoll had emerged as the clear No. 1.

Stoll's ability to be just as effective as a traditional end blocker as a stand-up perimeter receiver quickly separated him from the rest of the pack and drew rave reviews from his new coaches. The sophomore also established himself as a budding leader in the locker room.

Ranking breakdown
Sean Robin Nate Mike Gregg

30th

27th

18th

16th

25th