Nebraska Football: 15 Year Hidden Gem Team – Defense

Sep 25, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Denver Broncos defensive end Jared Crick (93) against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. The Broncos won 29-17. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 25, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Denver Broncos defensive end Jared Crick (93) against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. The Broncos won 29-17. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /

The Blackshirts are more than a tradition for the Nebraska football team. It’s about a mentality and you don’t need to be highly-recruited to become a part of the brotherhood.

Defensive coordinator Bob Diaco said it best:

"“If you love college football and you live in the continental United States, then you know Nebraska football. If you’re a defensive coach or player, you know the Blackshirt defense.”"

Damn right, Bobby.

When it comes to earning a Blackshirt, it’s exactly that: earned.

When you apply to join the most badass fraternity in college football, you don’t just show up with five stars on your forehead and expect a coveted black practice jersey.

No matter who you are or where you’re from, if you want into Nebraska lore, you better work your ass off to get there.

These dudes came and did just that, few to no stars needed.


Tierre Green – .7667 composite – two-star

With 36 career starts and 49 appearances, Green saw the field at safety, cornerback and running back throughout his career.

He earned Honorable Mention All-Big 12 honors in 2006 and started every game during his final two years at Nebraska

Green chose Nebraska over Iowa State.

He attended some mini camps in 2008 but was not signed. He later played for the Omaha Nighthawks and the Nebraska Danger.

Austin Cassidy – no composite – no stars

Cassidy started his final 21 games at Nebraska with an Honorable Mention All-Big 10 total of 70 tackles and two picks in his senior campaign (2011).

He was also only the 14th Husker to earn Academic All-America honors twice.

Cassidy chose to walk on at Nebraska despite interest from lower division schools.

He moved straight from the field to the sidelines over the next few years, eventually becoming a graduate assistant for the Huskers in 2014.

Defensive Backs

Josh Mitchell – .8442 composite – three-star

After appearing in every game during his junior year at Nebraska, Mitchell broke into the limelight as a senior, starting every game and climbing to eighth in school history in pass breakups.

His 33 solo tackles, two sacks and 57-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown against Miami (FL) earned him Honorable Mention All-Big 10 honors in 2014.

Mitchell chose Nebraska over Colorado State and UTEP.

He signed with the with the Indianapolis Colts as an undrafted free agent in 2015 but later signed with the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts after being waived.

Stanley Jean-Baptiste – no composite – no stars

Jean-Baptiste had an interception in each of the first four games of his senior season (2013).

After starting five times as a junior, he made the most of his final year at Nebraska, becoming a mainstay in one of the Big Ten’s top pass defenses.

Jean-Baptiste earned Second-Team All-Big Ten Honors in 2013.

He chose Nebraska after attending Fort Scott Community College.

Jean-Baptiste was selected in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints.


Corey McKeon – .8333 composite (247) – three-stars

McKeon set the linebacker single-season and single-game records in tackles for loss with 22 and five respectively during his Nebraska career.

After 240 career tackles — good for 13th all time — he had also accrued two Honorable Mention All-Big 12 honors in as many years.

McKeon chose Nebraska over Purdue and Miami (OH).

He signed as an undrafted free agent with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2008.

Trevor Roach – no composite – no stars

Roach missed his entire junior season with an injury, but burst onto the scene as a senior, eventually earning a starting spot mid-season.

He ended his final year with 63 tackles, including seven for a loss and one sack.

Against Michigan State in 2014, Roach recorded 18 tackles, the most by any Husker that year.

He chose to walk on at Nebraska rather than accept one of many scholarship offers at the Division II level.

Roach signed with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2015 as an undrafted free agent.

Defensive Line

Adam Carriker – .8000 composite – three-star

Carriker won Defensive MVP honors for the Blackshirts in both 2006 and 2007. He had an impressive 41 career tackles for loss, good for fifth in program history.

He earned First-Team All-Big 12 honors during his last two years and was named a Third-Team All-American in his final year with the Huskers. He was the Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year in 2006.

He chose Nebraska over Washington State, Oregon, and Oregon State.

He was drafted in the first round of the 2007 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Rams.

Jared Crick – .8442 composite (247) – three-star

Crick’s outstanding career was cut short by injury five games into his senior season.

As a junior, however, Crick earned First and Second-Team All-American Honors from three different publications.

Those awards came after he led the team with 9.5 sacks and 17 tackles for loss in 2010 when the defense was tied for ninth in the nation in scoring defense.

Crick chose Nebraska over various other offers, but only ever visited Lincoln.

He was drafted in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Houston Texans.

Pierre Allen – .8125 composite (247) – three-star

Allen had 39 career starts at defensive end in his career at Nebraska, including all 14 games of his senior year.

In 2010, he led the team with 13 quarterback hurries while also recording 65 total tackles and 3.5 sacks for the nation’s 11th ranked defense. Allen earned First-Team All-Big 12 honors his final year in the program.

He chose Nebraska over Colorado, Wyoming, and Syracuse, among others.

Allen signed with the Seattle Seahawks in 2011 as an undrafted free agent.

Ross Dzuris – no composite – no stars

Dzuris broke into the starting lineup as a junior and never looked back.

He led the team in tackles for loss in both 2015 and 2016 while recording 2.5 and 5.5 in those respective years. Dzuris earned the title of Nebraska’s Most Improved Player as a junior and Honorable Mention All-Big 10 in 2016 as a senior.

He chose to walk on at Nebraska rather than accept a scholarship from North Dakota or South Dakota.

Dzuris recently worked out at Nebraska’s Pro Day and hopes to get a chance to play in the NFL.

Kevin Maurice – .8286 composite (247) – three-star

After getting significant playing time in his sophomore and junior campaigns, Maurice busted his way into the starting lineup as a senior. His seven tackles for loss and four sacks were both good for second on the team in 2016.

With 71 tackles in his career, Maurice left as an Honorable-Mention All-Big 10 award winner.

Next: 15 Year Hidden Gem Team – Offense

He chose Nebraska over Florida Atlantic, North Carolina State, and Memphis.

Maurice hopes to get a shot in the NFL after a good showing at Nebraska’s Pro Day.