Husker Spring Position Battles: Linebackers


Arguably the leanest positions for the Blackshirts this spring in terms of experienced bodies is linebacker. This makes it tougher for the new coaching staff to really get a good look and evaluate what they have on the roster. Out this spring was senior David Santos as he continues to recover from off season surgery. Michael Rose-Ivey is still recovering from ACL surgery also and has seen limited action this spring. He will most likely will be ruled out for this weekend’s spring game. Looking forward to seeing them on the field in the fall!

New linebacker coach Trent Bray was a standout player for Mike Riley at Oregon State and he’s a rising star in the coaching profession. Glad he’s liking the new surroundings. Bray’s job may be the most difficult this spring. Simply because there will be only 2 players with actual game experience, Josh Banderas and Marcus Newby. With the limited amount of experience at linebacker, let’s try to make sense of what is there.


Not listed: Tyrin Ferguson, Mohamed Barry and Adrienne Talan. They will enroll this summer for fall practice.

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Santos and Rose-Ivey will be full GO come this fall and will likely be heavy favorites for a starting jobs once fall camp opens up. Before going down to an ACL tear, Rose-Ivey was a nice surprise in 2013 as a freshman Mike linebacker, calling the plays for the defense. If he is able to make a full recovery from surgery (which he should), it will be a much needed boost for the Huskers.

Banderas has had an up and down first couple years for the Huskers. After seeing quite a bit of playing time as a true freshman, his playing time dipped a bit last year as the season went along. From the sounds of things, Banderas is making a pretty good impression on Bray and new defensive coordinator Mark Banker.

Marcus Newby saw limited time last season for the Big Red, mostly as a defensive end in pass rushing situations. When he was on the field, he showed flashes of his athletic ability. Moving to linebacker, he seems like a perfect fit as an outside linebacker. At 6’1″ 235, he has a good combination of speed and size. Whether he’s playing out in space, covering tight ends and running backs, filling his gap in the run game or coming off the edge to rush the quarterback, Newby could be an emerging talent at the position.

Dedrick Young is an early enrollee who has had some positive reviews so far, but will have a lot more to prove once fall camp opens up and Santos and Rose-Ivey return. Luke Gifford was switched from safety to linebacker, basically out of necessity, but he also has the frame and athleticism to succeed at the position. Like Young, he still has a lot to learn and a lot of time to do it in.

Looking forward to sunny skies and cheering for the Huskers at Spring Game. GO BIG RED!!!