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The Big Fish Nebraska Football is Trying to Reel in on Defense and Why

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Earlier this week, we took a look at three prospects Nebraska could pick up that would help them in the short- to long-term on offense. Now it’s time to look at some potential future Blackshirts that could do the same for Mike Riley in his second season in Lincoln.

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DE Tramal Ivy

The Nebraska defense didn’t have a true pass rusher last season and that unfortunate fact hurt, as quarterbacks had plenty of time to pick apart the secondary. Losing one of the hardest-working members of the team in defensive end Jack Gangwish doesn’t help matters.

Enter JUCO defensive end Tramal Ivy. He hasn’t seen Lincoln yet, but it sounds like he’s hearing plenty of love from the Husker coaches.

How Ivy Can Help Nebraska: To say the Huskers had absolutely zero pass rush in 2015 is blunt, but true. The only player that got anything close to repeated heat on quarterbacks was defensive end Freedom Akinmoladun.

With signal-callers knowing they could just sit back in the pocket for as long as they cared, any uptick in pass pressure is valuable for the Huskers and Ivy could help assist with that immediately.

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CB Tony Butler

Nebraska finds itself with a bevy of speed in the secondary in Eric Lee and Avery Anderson, both coming off of redshirt years. Someone who could find himself working his way into playing time should he commit would be Butler, considered a high priority on the Big Red’s list.

How Butler Can Help Nebraska: Cornerbacks were frequent targets last season as they adjusted to first-year defensive coordinator Mark Banker's scheme. As a result, Nebraska finished a hideous No. 122 in defending the pass.

Lee and Anderson could take Butler under their wings while hopefully helping the Huskers cut that number in half (if not by more) as he gets used to playing college football. Like Lee and Anderson, Butler has the speed necessary to force takeaways and set up coverage sacks.

S/ATH Lamar Jackson

The safety position is one that Nebraska’s not lacking bodies for, but Jackson’s talent could help him see time early both at that spot and on special teams. Again, during the 2015 season, opponents tried to take advantage of Nebraska’s safeties with success more often than not.

How Jackson Can Help Nebraska: One player can’t make a team or even one side of the ball, but Jackson has all of the tools necessary to help the Huskers get back to keeping quarterbacks on their toes.

If he joins the ranks of Nate Gerry, Aaron Williams, Antonio Reed and incoming commit Marquel Dismuke, Nebraska’s weakness at the safety spot could tighten up in a hurry. It’s also important to point out valuable depth Jackson would provide should injury strike and as mentioned with the cornerbacks, he adds more of that crucial speed. 

— Written by Brandon Cavanaugh, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Be sure to follow Brandon on Twitter @eightlaces and like his Facebook page.