Nebraska defensive tackle Maliek Collins…gone.
Nebraska defensive tackle Vincent Valentine…gone.
The Huskers starting interior have both moved on to the NFL draft, which means the defensive tackle spot gets a little more interesting heading into spring football
http://www.scout.com/college/nebraska/story/1631346-nebraska-dt-vincent-... So what is next at the position?
Much of the burden will likely fall on soon to be senior Kevin Maurice. Down the stretch the former Florida prep showed he’s more than capable of being a starting defensive tackle in the Big Ten. Maurice finished the year with 21 tackles, three tackles for loss and one sack, despite just one start.
“His future is whatever he wants it to be,” Collins said of Maurice to reporters during bowl prep. “I think he has all the potential to be a great player. It’s just whatever he wants to do.”
And what about defensive tackle Kevin Williams? After being awarded a medical sixth year, Williams’ future now seems to be in doubt. Some have suggested the former Ohio prep, who graduated already in 2014, might be ready to move on with his life after multiple knee injuries. An Instgram post last week by Williams only fueled the fire.
“I want to thank all my fellow senior for all the support throughout this chapter in our lives,” said Williams in the post. “I’m glad we went out with a W!”
At this point we wouldn't be suprised to see Williams leave. We almost expect it.
With both starters gone and Williams possibly hanging it up, it might be time for defensive end Greg McMullen to move inside. A position switch has been rumored for quite some time when it comes to the senior, but could 2016 be finally the year it happens. While Nebraska isn’t exactly wealthy at the defensive end spot, you have to wonder if his size would make him more effective in the interior.
Most eyes will be on redshirt freshman Carlos Davis and Khalil Davis during the Huskers’ 15 spring practices. The two highly sought after recruits redshirted in 2015, but Carlos pushed for playing time during the season – even making the Nebraska travel squad on more than one occasion. Defensive line coach Hank Hughes was very complimentary of the pair. Their winter development over the next two months will be crucial when it comes to getting ready to play early.
Rounding out the defensive tackle depth will be sophomores Mick Stoltenberg and Peyton Newell. Stoltenberg suffered a knee injury during bowl prep, after playing in nine regular season games in 2015. Riley called the injury unfortunate, but said the Gretna product should be back for the start of 2016. Newell, a former highly sought after recruit, is settling into the defensive tackle spot after also playing defensive end early in his career. Late in the season Newell told Big Red Report his focus was putting on weight after hovering between the two positions.
The potential to lose three interior defensive lineman in 2015 defintely moves Nebraska target Amir Watts up the Huskers' "Most Wanted" recruiting board. Nebraska is going to receive his last official visit in January and the Huskers have put themselves in a good position to land the Semper Fi All-American. While Watts is rated by Scout.com as a defensive end, his weight suggests he could play either inside or outside.