Fall Camp Preview: Deep defensive line will anchor the Blackshirts
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Fall Camp Preview: Deep defensive line will anchor the Blackshirts

As we approach the start of Fall Camp for Nebraska, we take an inside look at each position group for the Huskers.

Today we take a look at the defensive line, which could be one of the deepest and most talented units on NU's roster this season.

Related: QB | RB | WR | TE | OL

Sixth-year senior Ben Stille leads a defensive line that might be one of Nebraska's top strengths going into 2021.
Sixth-year senior Ben Stille leads a defensive line that might be one of Nebraska's top strengths going into 2021. (Getty Images)

What we know right now: The d-line will be the strength of the defense

A year ago at this time, Nebraska's defensive line was the biggest question after losing three starters from 2019 to the NFL.

Not only did the 2020 group answer those questions, they arguably exceeded expectations under position coach Tony Tuioti.

Going forward into 2021, NU returns every single key contributor from a year ago, other than Keem Green, who entered the transfer portal after seeing his snaps go down.

The Huskers will be led by senior Ben Stille, sophomore Casey Rogers, third-year freshman Ty Robinson and junior Damion Daniels.

After that, veterans like Deonte Thomas and Jordon Riley round out the top six.

Then you have another group of emerging players like sophomore Colton Feist, second-year freshman Nash Hutmacher, third-year freshman Mosai Newsome, and true freshman Ru'Quan Buckley who all showed flashes this spring.

Nebraska has done an outstanding job of recruiting and developing this position group, and they will have the bulk of this bunch back for 2022 and 2023.

Key stats and numbers from 2020

2020 total returning snaps
Player Snaps

Ben Stille - SR

467

Ty Robinson - RFr

327

Casey Rogers - SO

243

Damion Daniels - JR

177

Jordon Riley - JR

36

Tate Wildeman - SO

10

Colton Feist - SO

4

Key returning 2020 numbers
Player TCK TFL Sacks FF FR

Ben Stille

27

3.0

1.5

0

0

Casey Rogers

25

3.0

1.0

0

0

Damion Daniels

20

4.0

0.0

0

0

Ty Robinson

17

2.0

0.0

0

0

Jordon Riley

1

0.0

0.0

0

0

Tate Wildeman

1

0.0

0.0

0

0

Nebraska has plenty of numbers to work with on the defensive line, but who will make up the primary rotation?
Nebraska has plenty of numbers to work with on the defensive line, but who will make up the primary rotation? (Getty Images)

Biggest question: How deep will the rotation go?

There aren't many concerns about this group other than figuring out the primary rotation early in the season.

The Huskers will play eight straight weeks from Aug. 28 to Oct. 16. That will test the depth of this unit, and Tuioti will have to figure out the right rotation over that stretch.

You also hope that Daniels continues to improve his overall conditioning level to give the Big Red more snaps this season.

It sounds like the players themselves are welcoming a deeper rotation this season, as Robinson said he expected the d-line to sub early and often to keep guys fresh during games and throughout an entire season.

Nebraska has plenty of numbers upfront, and it likely won't be afraid to use them in 2021. Now it's just a matter of who all will make up that core rotation come Illinois week.

Projected Fall Camp DL Depth Chart

DE

1. Ben Stille, Sr.

2. Deontre Thomas, Jr.

NT

1. Damion Daniels, Jr.

2. Jordon Riley , Jr.

DE

1. Ty Robinson, RFr.

2. Casey Rogers, So.

Other notables to watch: Colton Feist, So.; Nash Hutmacher, Fr.; Mosai Newsome, RFr.; Ru'Quan Buckley, Fr.; Tate Wildeman, So.