With Kalu's move, Jackson hopes he can lock down a starting spot

Sean Callahan, Publisher
Husker Online

You could argue the decision to shake up Nebraska’s secondary has just as much to do with the potential of sophomore Lamar Jackson as it has to do with senior Joshua Kalu.

Before the Huskers went to spring break, defensive coordinator Bob Diaco decided to move his veteran corner Kalu to the safety spot opposite of junior Aaron Williams.

This essentially paved the way for Jackson to move into the starting boundary corner position.

“Right when they made the move coach Donte (Williams) told me Kalu is going to safety and you are the starting cornerback,” Jackson said. “Obviously, I got butterflies, because this is what I’ve been working for. Now it’s just time to show up and show what I can do.”

Jackson came to NU has one of the higher ranked defensive back recruits in several years. He was regarded as the No. 1 safety by Rivals.com, but it was determined he’d be a cornerback at Nebraska from the get-go.

The problem is he never played corner in his football career until this past season, so naturally the transition came with some growing pains.

“Lamar (Jackson) is a great talent,” corners coach Donte Williams said. “He’s just a guy that needs a lot of reps. Even in high school he didn’t even play corner. He’s never even been a true corner, so every day I just expect for him to get better. Any time there’s a play or a day he takes off and doesn’t get better, that’s a problem. The biggest thing with Lamar is everything he does, he needs to get better at.”

The hope is just being with the first-team defense for the remainder of the spring will help Jackson get comfortable as a starting corner.

“Just being in the first group and getting first team reps, it just elevates your play and your mindset going into each day,” Jackson said. “I’m making sure I prepare myself each day, because now that I’m at the top, I want to stay at the top.”

The other interesting nugget is Williams was already very familiar with Jackson from the recruiting process. Williams recruited Jackson heavily while at Arizona.

When Williams got to Lincoln, the two immediately picked up where they left off.

“He recruited me all through high school and we already had a relationship,” Jackson said of Williams. “He was one of the main coaches I let down when I made my decision, so I’m glad he’s here now.

“When he first got here, I told him I would’ve been mad if I went to Arizona. Now we are here and we are trying to do great things here.”

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