Looking ahead to the 2022 Nebraska football season, we’re rounding up all of the departures, newcomers and returners in a summer position-by-position breakdown series.
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- CB – Cam Taylor-Britt (Jr, NFL 2nd-round draftee)
- NB – JoJo Domann (Sr)
- S – Marquel Dismuke (Sr)
- S – Deontai Williams (Sr)
- CB – Nadab Joseph (transfer)
- CB – Omar Brown (Jr, transfer, Northern Iowa)
- CB – Jaeden Gould (Fr, Somerset, NJ)
- CB – Malcolm Hartzog (Fr, Silver Creek, MS)
- CB – Tommi Hill (So, transfer, Arizona State)
- DB – Javier Morton (So, Garden City CC)
- S – Jalil Martin (Fr, Chicago)
- S – DeShon Singleton (So, Hutchinson CC)
- S – Gage Stenger (Fr, Millard South)
- CB – Braxton Clark (Jr)
- CB – Tyreke Johnson (Jr)
- CB – Tamon Lynum (RFr)
- CB – Quinton Newsome (Jr)
- DB – Koby Bretz (RFr)
- DB – Marques Buford (So)
- S – Myles Farmer (Jr)
- S – Isaac Gifford (So)
- S – Noa Pola-Gates (So)
- S – Javin Wright (So)
Other than quarterback, the position group undergoing the most turnover from 2021 to 2022 is defensive back, especially if you include the nickel position.
Cam Taylor-Britt, JoJo Domann, Deontai Williams and Marquel Dismuke were all multi-year starters, with all but CTB utilizing the extra COVID year to play an additional season in college.
Not only will the Huskers be replacing starters at four of these five secondary positions, but they’ll also do it with plenty of candidates possessing next to no playing time in Lincoln.
Among the returning players, only four have starting experience:
- Quinton Newsome - all 12 games of 2021 at cornerback, plus one start in 2020
- Myles Farmer - four starts at safety in 2021, one in 2020
- Isaac Gifford - replaced JoJo Domann at nickel in final two games of 2021
- Braxton Clark - one start at corner in 2019
Entering 2021: returned four out of five starters
Entering 2022: returning just 21 starts TOTAL across all five spots
Providing stability at the top of the secondary is defensive backs coach Travis Fisher, entering his fifth season with both head coach Scott Frost and defensive coordinator Erik Chinander. Fisher will look to blend the newcomers with the returning players, offsetting some inexperience with the influx of talent.
Newsome and Farmer, both 6-foot-1 Georgia natives entering their fourth years at Nebraska, figure to play prominent roles at cornerback and safety, respectively. Newsome tallied 57 tackles and four pass breakups while starting all 12 games in 2021. Farmer’s five career starts include 39 total tackles, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and three interceptions.
Likely candidates to replace Cam Taylor-Britt opposite Newsome are Braxton Clark, Tommi Hill, and Omar Brown. Clark was headed for perhaps a starting role in 2020 before a shoulder injury knocked him out for the year. He played in every game in 2021. Hill played in 11 games at Arizona State last season. Brown was an All-American and the FCS Defensive Freshman of the Year in 2019.
At safety, sophomore Marques Buford could emerge as a starter after playing every game last year for the Huskers, mostly on special teams. Junior college transfer DeShon Singleton may also start alongside Farmer at safety. Singleton made 21 tackles, 2.5 for a loss, and two INTs at Hutchinson CC, helping them to a top-10 ranking last season.
At nickel back, it may be more of a rotation between a traditional linebacker on run downs and a DB for passing downs. JoJo Domann handled the responsibilities of each so well that he didn’t have to come off the field. Isaac Gifford is best prepared for a Domann-type three-down role, as he stepped in for the senior in the final two games of 2021. Gifford made three tackles at Wisconsin and then had a crucial pass breakup in the finale against Iowa.
Other nickel options include Koby Bretz, Javin Wright, Gage Stenger, and Chris Kolarevic.
The secondary played a big part in the Blackshirts’ success in 2021. With coaching stability and a blend of old and new, this year’s edition will look to continue its strong play.