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Pair of Potential Blackshirts There for the Taking for Nebraska This Summer

Mike Riley

Mike Riley

By now, most Nebraska fans are familiar with Stevie Tu'ikolovatu’s name even if they can’t pronounce it. It appears that Tu'ikolovatu will take his 6-foot-1, 320-pound frame to one of three schools as a graduate transfer following his departure as a member of the Utah Utes.

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Alabama, USC and Nebraska are all in the mix, but the Cornhuskers seemingly give him the best bang for his travelling buck. Already married and with a two-year LDS mission under his belt, Tu'ikolovatu no doubt wants to up his NFL stock. Who better to work with than former 12-year NFL veteran John Parrella, Nebraska’s new defensive line coach?

Even better, he’d nearly be guaranteed to start from day one as the Big Red lost four defensive tackles with eligibility remaining during the offseason and run defense is currently a major question mark. A rock solid 320 pounds, the mammoth ex-Ute would demand double-teams, just as Parrella would no doubt love.

While he may be familiar to Husker Nation by now, a new name has popped up: defensive end Raveon Hoston. The Los Angeles Valley College prospect now has a Nebraska offer and would be an immensely fortunate get for a defensive line that could use every bit of help it can get on the outside.

Hoston is a late academic qualifier for the 2016 cycle, would have two seasons of eligibility and – like Tu'ikolovatu – would look like a near lock at clinching a starting defensive end spot. His would likely be opposite sophomore Freedom Akinmoladun.

It’s a testament to this coaching staff that they’re not content to rest on their laurels while potential problem solvers like these two athletes could help strengthen an area of extreme need.

Not only that, but if the Huskers do get both wrapped up for the 2016 season, this allows younger players who’d have to step up in a big way immediately some breathing room and even more time to ease into their eventual roles which are likely to slowly increase as the year goes on.

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