LINCOLN, Neb. – Nebraska sophomore Marcus Newby has had an interesting journey to get to his linebacker position in Lincoln.
In high school, Newby was a Semper-Fi All-American defensive back. Last season as a redshirt freshman, the previous coaching staff used the former Maryland product as a speed rush guy off the edge.
In the matter of four seasons, Newby has played all three levels of the defense.
“It’s rare,” said linebackers coach Trent Bray. “I have seen it in reverse order, where he was a safety, linebacker, and gets drafted as a defensive end. It’s unique. It’s just how he has grown. I didn’t see him in high school, but when he got here he was up to 235 to 240 pound. He has sort of just ate himself out of the position.”
Newby is coming off the best game of his career at Nebraska over the weekend, despite battling cramps much of the contest.
"It was tough, but I tried to fight it out and obviously, you know, if I'm not 100% someone else has to go,” said Newby. “I don't want to jeopardized my team.”
Filling in for Michael Rose-Ivey, Newby had four tackles, with one tackle for loss. He also set tied a Nebraska record with four pass breakups by a linebacker. Two of those breakups came on third down.
“I was very (proud), he has come such a long way,” said Bray. “When we first got here, he just had his hand in the ground and we were told that’s all he can do. He’s really grown a lot on how to play the position.”
After the contest, Newby admitted he knew when certain Wisconsin plays were designed for the tight end, a primary coverage target for the linebacker.
Bray echoed Newby’s defensive awareness.
“He knew the route he was going to run because of the set,” said Bray. “It was a great job by him.”
Rose-Ivey (groin) is questionable this week against Minnesota. If he does play, the coaching staff will likely be very careful with the junior’s injury and give him limited reps – meaning Newby could be on the field for another big day on Saturday.