Over the past 10 days or so, I have taken a look at the weapons that the Huskers have on the offensive side of the ball as spring practice has progressed and also with the spring game quickly approaching. Now transitioning over to the defensive side of the ball, we will start with the interior lineman.
The first guy you have to look at for this group is junior Ben Stille. Stille had a nice sophomore campaign starting in 11 of the 12 games recording 25 tackles and five sacks. This season is extremely important for him as he needs to have more production when rushing the passer. He would cause problems in the backfield, but converting the pressure into sacks is the next step for Stille. If the other defensive lineman and outside linebacker positions can create more pressure, it will open up more for Stille. Stille is a monster at 6’5 290 pounds and hopefully, we see more production from that massive frame of his.
Senior Carlos Davis made an appearance in all 12 games last season and had pretty solid numbers. He totaled 27 tackles, three tackles for loss, and one sack. The key statistic for him is that he broke up five passes last season, the most by a defensive lineman since Ndamukong Suh in 2009 when he had 10. All of these impressive numbers allowed him to be an Honorable-Mention All Big-Ten selection by the coaches. Carlos can lineup in both the defensive end and the tackle spot as well which is important for the Huskers.
Carlos’s twin brother Khalil had a great season as well starting in all 12 games and also being an Honorable-Mention All Big-Ten selection by the coaches. Khalil had 41 tackles, eight tackles for loss, and three sacks as well last season. He will be extremely important again this season as he caused all kinds of problems for their opponents.
Now for another pair of brothers for the Huskers that could contribute in a big way include sophomore Damien Daniels and graduate transfer Darrion Daniels. First for Damien, in his redshirt freshman season last year he appeared in all 12 games with 12 tackles total on the year. He will play a much larger role this season at the defensive tackle position. Darrion transfers in from Oklahoma State after having an injury-ridden senior season. But, in his junior season, he recorded 26 tackles. Darrion will add some solid depth for the Huskers.
With the type of depth that the Huskers have at defensive line, it would be hard to envision a true freshman seeing the field. Unless that freshman is Ty Robinson. Robinson was a four-star recruit out of Arizona and this kid is special. He stands at 6’6 275 pounds and his senior season stats were staggering. He posted 74 tackles and 70 were solo. You read that right, 70 were solo. Also, tack on 34 tackles for loss and seven sacks. He has a chance to make an impact for the Big Red.
Other players on the defensive line that could make a major difference include sophomore Denontre Thomas, senior Daishon Neal, and redshirt freshman, Tate Wildeman.
Time will tell who will be the primary defensive lineman for the Huskers.