Top 40 Huskers for 2017: 16-20

Robin Washut, Senior Writer
Husker Online

Voting Criteria: Player's importance to the team in 2017, talent and potential for the upcoming season. A player's long term/NFL potential was not taken into consideration.

Voting Panel: Publisher Sean Callahan, HuskerOnline.com staff Robin Washut, Nate Clouse, Gregg Peterson, and HOL interns Matt Reynoldson and David Eickholt.

T19. Alex Davis, LB, So.

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Nate Clouse

Nebraska's move to a 3-4 scheme has been an adjustment for every defensive player, but arguably no one has had to redefine themselves more than Alex Davis.

A defensive end the past two years, Davis was moved to the hybrid boundary outside linebacker role, where he'll be expected to play both with his hand in the ground at times and also out in pass coverage.

This spring was a major learning process for the 6-5, 255, sophomore, and that will only continue on into fall camp. If he can get himself up to speed in his new role, though, Davis' future could be very bright.

Ranking breakdown

Sean

Robin

Nate

Gregg

Matt

David

20th

26th

19th

20th

23rd

13th

T19. Tyler Hoppes, TE, Sr.

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Tyler Krecklow

Tyler Hoppes came to Nebraska as a sophomore walk-on transfer from Wayne (Neb.) State who started his NU career as a defensive end. Now he's firmly positioned to be the Huskers' starting tight end in 2017.

Hoppes impressed his coaches in a big way last year working in a veteran-heavy tight end group, and when he finally got to take the reigns in his first spring as the No. 1, he flourished.

In the Spring Game he caught four passes for 66 yards, including a 21-yard grab. If the connection between Hoppes and Tanner Lee holds into the fall, he's got a chance make the tight end position a major factor in NU's passing game once again.

Ranking breakdown

Sean

Robin

Nate

Gregg

Matt

David

16th

20th

26th

22nd

20th

17th

18. Marcus Newby, LB, Sr.

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Tyler Krecklow

It seems as if Marcus Newby has spent his entire career at Nebraska trying to find his place, and his upcoming senior year will once again be another big adjustment.

A former-four-star recruit, Newby has been used as an outside linebacker and a rush end at points over the past three seasons, and now he's in line to be the No. 1 boundary linebacker in NU's new 3-4 defense.

Newby will have to continue to hold of Luke Gifford this fall in order to remain the starter, but he put together a solid spring and will provide the both pass rushing and coverage skills.

17. Dedrick Young, LB, Jr.

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Tyler Krecklow

Since enrolling early in the spring of 2015, Dedrick Young has been a fixture in Nebraska's linebacking corps.

Young had a breakout Husker debut, as he became one of just five NU true freshmen to start a season opener since World War II, posted the most tackles ever by a true freshman (61), and earned Big Ten All-Freshman Team honors.

After posting 60 tackles last year as sophomore, Young now enters his junior season with 121 career tackles, the second-most at Nebraska through two seasons behind only Barrett Ruud (140).

Ranking breakdown

Sean

Robin

Nate

Gregg

Matt

David

17th

17th

23rd

15th

21st

21st

16. Jerald Foster, OL, Jr.

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Tyler Krecklow

After playing in all 13 games as redshirt freshman in 2015, Jerald Foster was set up to be a mainstay at left guard entering last season.

But an MCL injury during fall camp derailed his sophomore year before it even began, as he was forced to miss the first nine games of the season.

Foster returned to start the final four games of 2016, and now he's once again looking to cement himself as a permanent piece on the Huskers' starting offensive line for the next two years.

Ranking breakdown

Sean

Robin

Nate

Gregg

Matt

David

19th

19th

15th

17th

14th

16th

Previous rankings

No. 36-40

No. 31-35

No. 26-30

No. 21-25

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