While Nebraska is currently in the market for an offensive analyst — a position that head coach Scott Frost’s former boss and colleague Mark Helfrich would be a perfect fit for — the Cornhuskers also are in need of an outside linebackers coach following the recent departure of Jovan Dewitt.
A few names have been bandied about as potential replacements such as former Huskers Carlos Polk and Doug Colman. Those two are currently special teams assistants with the Dallas Cowboys and Cleveland Browns, respectively. This would help address both areas left unattended due to Dewitt taking a special teams assistant gig with Mack Brown at North Carolina.
However, another possibility appears to be the return of Mike Dawson who left Nebraska following Frost's inaugural season as the Huskers' head coach to assist the New York Giants with their outside linebackers.
As a member of the Giants' staff in 2019, Dawson helped Alec Ogletree and Markus Golden put together productive seasons despite the team's overall defensive struggles. Ogletree was credited with 80 tackles (48 solo), four tackles for a loss, one sack, one interception, and three quarterback hits.
Golden proved to be even more agitating for opposing signal-callers with 27 quarterback hits along with his 72 tackles (37 solo), 13 tackles for a loss, 10 sacks, and one fumble recovery.
Dawson did some notable work on the recruiting trail while at Nebraska as well.
He's credited as one of the main recruiters for current Huskers running back Rahmir Johnson along with defensive ends Ty Robinson and Casey Rogers. He also was part of the effort to get four-star prospect Javontae Jean-Baptiste (Ohio State) and three-star prospect Charles Njoku (UCLA) prior to the second signing period for the class of 2019.
Should he return to Nebraska, the prevailing thought is that Dawson would continue to work with a Blackshirt outside linebacker corps that has much room for improvement based on last season's showing. Fortunately for him, an influx of talent during the class of 2020's early signing period gives him a litany of choices to plug those holes.
Mobile, Alabama, product Jimari Butler offers a long and lean build (6-5, 217) to work with while Blaise Gunnerson from Carroll, Iowa, has the size (6-5, 217) at the position that Wisconsin has used to wreak havoc (See: Van Ginkel, Andrew, etc.).
Dawson's return to Lincoln would only underscore Frost's commitment to giving his players instruction worthy of football's highest level while maintaining a goal of staff continuity. While special teams duty would still be up in the air, at least temporarily, ensuring that the second level of Erik Chinander's defense is properly equipped to handle Big Ten offenses is just as crucial.
With proven recruiting ability and a coaching resume that spans 20 years, bringing Dawson back into the fold appears to be a solid move by Frost if he's able to seal the deal.