BRR offseason outlook: Defensive tackle

Maliek Collins and Vincent Valentine might have separated themselves this spring, but the competition at defensive tackle will likely be strong in the fall. is going to take a position-by-position look of what we learned about the Huskers from spring practices heading into the bulk of the offseason.


Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini doesn't throw out player comparisons lightly – it's why the media's ears perk up when he talks about sophomore Maliek Collins.

Collins was a force this spring, giving the Huskers' offensive line workouts in their 15 practices. His play was compared to former LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey, who Pelini coached as a coordinator for the Tigers. After 10 sacks and 21 tackles for loss in his final two seasons, Dorsey went on to be the No. 5 pick in the 2008 NFL Draft.

"I think he's got that kind of upside if he continues on his progress," said Pelini. "He's got that kind of ability, a guy who's got that strength, but also has great feet, great movement."

Getting the bulk of the first-team reps with Collins this spring was Vincent Valentine, who closed out the 2013 season strong with his best game coming against Iowa. Valentine was a slimmed down version of himself, looking quicker and stronger. It's appears the freshman got the message from the coaching staff, who challenged the former Illinois prep last April to get in better shape and bring the same intensity every play.

Vincent Valentine

Kevin Williams returned from his second ACL injury of his career to participate full go in about half of the Huskers workouts. Valentine and Collins have more upside, but the junior will be able to provide depth in the fall. He only has five appearances to his name, but has multiple years of film room experience. It likely won't be until the fall when we get a true feeling of how much Williams will be able to contribute. While he was cleared for contact, the Ohio native was a bit rusty.

Junior Aaron Curry started eight games last year, so he shouldn't be counted as a guy who could stand out in the fall. The former Texas prep missed the last couple of practices with a neck strain. Curry is consistent, but didn't show up in the backfield this spring as much as Valentine and Collins, which is why he probably doesn't get talked about as much.

Rounding out the position of guys who will likely contribute at the position is sophomore Kevin Maurice – who showed flashes last fall. He didn't have as much hype as fellow sophomore Maliek Collins in March and April, but was talked about often by teammates as a guy who was developing quickly.


1A.) Maliek Collins – sophomore
1B.) Vincent Valentine – redshirt sophomore

2A.) Kevin Williams – redshirt junior
2B.) Aaron Curry – junior
2C.) Kevin Maurice – sophomore

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