As Nebraska spring football approaches, Husker Extra is counting down the 25 most intriguing players expected to participate.
The list so far:
No. 25: Tyjon Lindsey, WR
No. 24: Chris Walker, OL
No. 23: Devine Ozigbo, RB
No. 22: Mohamed Barry, LB
No. 21: Barret Pickering, PK
No. 20: Jaevon McQuitty, WR
No. 19: Antonio Reed, S
No. 18: Collin Miller, LB
No. 17: Deontai Williams, DB
No. 16: Dedrick Young, LB
15. Damion Daniels, DT, redshirt freshman
Damion Daniels pushed for playing time as a true freshman before the decision was made by former head coach Mike Riley and company to redshirt him and play fellow freshman Deontre Thomas.
Now Daniels, listed at 6-foot-2 and 310 pounds, will compete for a role along a defensive line that returns as much experience as any position group on Nebraska’s roster.
Over the course of NU’s 4-8 campaign, Riley said that Daniels could likely play and be productive, but happened to play a spot where the Huskers actually had depth and were getting decent production. By the end of the fall, it wasn’t uncommon to hear rave reviews about the work Daniels was doing on the scout team.
“He’s going to be a great player, now,” former defensive line coach John Parrella said in November. “That’s one big, strong, mean guy.”
As with so many players on this list, the leading question for Daniels will be about fit. Defensive coordinator Erik Chinander has said his unit will move between three- and four-down fronts depending on situation and opponent.
The defensive line has the numbers to make that work, but it will depend on how adept players are at moving around. How much position shuffling will NU experiment with up front? Can Daniels make headway inside with Thomas and Mick Stoltenberg? Is he best as a true nose or will he show interior versatility? It’s a puzzle with many pieces and, while Daniels is a key one, it will be intriguing to see just how he fits.