It’s no secret that Nebraska football lost a lot of defensive leadership with the upperclassmen and seniors that were graduating. Now, it is up for the program to find some new leaders on that side of the football.
One of the names that came up on Tuesday was a linebacker Garrett Nelson. For his part, Nelson had a good 2021 season. He recorded 57 tackles and five sacks in addition to a forced fumble. His best game of the season came against Minnesota. In that game, he recorded eight tackles on the day. He also had seven games with at least six tackles. It seemed like he was always around the football.
When it comes to leaders, the junior should be in a good position to do so. He was one of the freshmen that really made an impact in 2020. In what was a difficult year, he recorded 30 total tackles. As far as production goes, I truly believe he is on the upswing.
I really like the type of play style he brings to the table, and I like the fact that he never takes a play off. That’s exactly what you want to see out of your linebackers. Nelson brings that energy every time he steps on the football field.
In speaking with the media on Tuesday, defensive coordinator Erik Chinander talked about Nelson’s ability to be a leader for the 2022 season.
“The way he goes about things, the way he practices, the way he watches films, the way he lifts weights, the way he encourages other people,” Chinander said. “I think he knew he wasn’t a captain last year. He wasn’t necessarily ‘the guy.’ But he was trying to support the leaders anyway he could and try to build the culture on defense, and I think those are all things you look for when you’re looking for that next group of leaders.”
It would be really cool to see him emerge as a leader of this Nebraska football defense. A local kid from Scottsbluff, he would certainly make for a great story. Nelson would also put an end to the notion that Nebraska football can’t recruit good athletes in their backyard. Nelson figures to be a huge part of the Nebraska football defense moving forward.
I’m excited to see what Nelson can bring to the table in 2022. If it’s anything like last season, he should be able to make a sizable impact.