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Blackshirts get more good news from senior ILB Will Honas, who is returning for 2021
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HUSKER FOOTBALL

Blackshirts get more good news from senior ILB Will Honas, who is returning for 2021

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Minnesota vs. Nebraska, 12.12

Minnesota's Mohamed Ibrahim (24) gets tackled by Nebraska's Dicaprio Bootle and Will Honas (3) late in the fourth quarter Dec. 12 at Memorial Stadium.

Steven M. Sipple, Parker Gabriel and Chris Basnett break down a week that's already had several additions and subtractions on the football front, including several returning senior defenders, two offensive transfers inbound and Wan'Dale Robinson leaving the program. That, plus the men's basketball program pauses following positive COVID-19 tests. When might the Huskers be back on the floor? 

Will Honas emerged as a staple of Nebraska’s defense in 2020. Now he’s poised to be just the same in 2021.

The senior inside linebacker announced Thursday morning he’s returning to school for an extra season and will be back with the Huskers for 2021.

Honas is coming off his best collegiate season and will look to build on it thanks to the extra season of eligibility granted by the NCAA due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Wichita, Kansas, native played in seven of NU’s eight games in 2020 and finished second on the team in tackles with 57. He tied senior outside linebacker JoJo Domann with a team-best 6½ tackles for loss, adding a team-leading three sacks. He projects as a defensive leader next season.

His return continues a run of good news for the Blackshirts. Along with Honas, Domann, senior safeties Deontai Williams and Marquel Dismuke, and junior cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt all will return for 2021. 

If senior defensive lineman Ben Stille does the same — he's the only remaining scholarship senior who hasn't announced his intentions — NU would have nine of 11 starters back in the fold, including the top eight tacklers. 

Honas now will spend four seasons at Nebraska despite arriving as a junior college transfer in January 2018. He suffered a season-ending knee injury four games into that season, preserving a redshirt in the process. Then he was a part-time player in 2019 and ascended into a full-time starter in 2020. What started as a three-man rotation with senior Collin Miller and sophomore Luke Reimer became a thinner group when Reimer missed the opener with an injury — and later missed time with an apparent head injury — and Miller suffered a career-ending injury in mid-November.

Honas and Reimer look like the top two in Barrett Ruud’s group going into 2021. NU will have to decide whether it wants redshirt freshman Nick Henrich inside where he began his career or outside where he played some in 2020 due to depth issues at that position. Then, Northern Iowa graduate transfer Chris Kolarevic joins the fold later this month.

NU has several younger guys who will try to crack the two-deep, too, in Garrett Snodgrass, Jackson Hannah and Eteva Mauga-Clements, among others, and welcomes a deep and versatile class of linebackers to campus this offseason.

Decision made: Tracking the next step for Husker football upperclassmen

With the NCAA offering seniors an extra year of eligibility, Nebraska football players have choices in front of them. Here's a comprehensive look.

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The senior defensive lineman announced Friday morning that he plans to return in 2021 and play a sixth year for the Huskers.

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In what turned out to be his final game as a Husker, Dedrick Mills sought out Scott Frost beforehand. The message? "I just need the ball."

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Farniok started 32 games in Lincoln and was the full-time right guard in 2020.

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Cam Taylor-Britt was named second-team All-Big Ten by league coaches after an excellent junior season for Huskers.

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Stoll, a Colorado native, thanked NU coaches, teammates and fans on Twitter for his five years on campus. 

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The Husker veteran, who began 2020 as NU's starting left guard before ceding most playing time to redshirt freshman Ethan Piper, is in the transfer portal as of Thursday afternoon, according to multiple reports.

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Miller: "Just make sure that I'm able to throw the football with my kid down the road, or drive my own car down the road, or take a shower on my own."

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The senior left tackle started his program-record 40th straight game Saturday, which will serve as his last time in a Husker uniform.

Contact the writer at pgabriel@journalstar.com or 402-473-7439. On Twitter @HuskerExtraPG.

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Husker football reporter

Parker joined the Journal Star as the University of Nebraska football beat writer in August 2017. He previously covered Montana State athletics for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 2012.

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