With just a few days remaining before Memorial Stadium is sold out for its annual Spring Game, Husker fans are extremely excited to see the product on the field in year two of the Scott Frost Era. The defensive back position is always one that is looked at carefully and it will be no different this year. For Nebraska, they have a host of players coming back this season at both the cornerback and safety positions.
The player that has been under the microscope the most, senior Lamar Jackson at corner. The reason being he was a 4-star athlete out of high school, he has a 6’3 215-pound frame, and all of the tools necessary to be a dominant corner. Towards the end of last season, we saw the type of player Jackson could be as he intercepted passes and made plays all over the field. He has outstanding footwork and closing speed and now Jackson will look to put the entire body of work to good use and have a monster senior season. Last year as a junior, he recorded 28 tackles, two interceptions, and two passes defended.
Now for junior Dicaprio Bootle, there may not have been a more deserving secondary member of an interception than him. His stat line: 39 tackles, 15 pass breakups, and zero interceptions. Bootle was picked on all last season and he responded well most nights. He locked up a lot of great receivers and he will be asked to do that again this year. He does a magnificent job of using his hands to make contact with the receiver and also once the wideout has his hands on the ball, he often times will rip the rock away forcing the incompletion.
Next is a junior safety that made his impact felt in limited action, Deontai Williams. Williams appeared in all 12 games last season with 23 tackles and two interceptions. Williams does a solid job in pass coverage and has no problem coming up and making plays in the run game as well. Williams will have an expanded role with the departures of senior safeties Aaron Williams, Tre Neal, and Antonio Reed.
Senior Eric Lee Jr. saw some time last season recording 13 tackles. He will be called upon this season in situations when the Huskers will be in the dime packages and when matchups are in his favor. Having a steady defensive back this season will be great for the Big Red.
Cam Taylor as a true freshman last season showed his ability to make plays. Taylor had 12 tackles and also had one pass break-up. Taylor will be utilized in a variety of way as there have been discussions he will play corner, safety, and special teams. He doesn’t care where he will be on the field. Look for him to either be the other starting safety with Williams or even play in the nickel or dime packages for the Huskers.
Another player could be competing for a starting safety spot is junior Marquel Dismuke. Dismuke recorded 10 tackles in limited action but he’s a guy who goes 100% all of the time. He’s been running with the top group of defenders so he could be a guy Nebraska fans will see a lot.
Other players for the Blackshirt defense that could make an impact in the defensive back group include senior Avery Anderson, junior Tony Butler, redshirt freshman Braxton Clark, redshirt freshman Cam’ron Jones, redshirt freshman CJ Smith, and true freshman Noa Pola-Gates.