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Wisconsin vs. Nebraska, 10/7/17

Nebraska linebacker Dedrick Young (5) helps stop Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor during a game last season at Memorial Stadium.

Husker Extra is running a series called Heat Index, a quick look at the Huskers before fall camp begins Aug. 3. This week, Steven M. Sipple counts down five veteran players who should be on the verge of their most productive seasons.

Today, we start with a defender who's made 31 starts in his three seasons in the program.

5. Dedrick Young, inside linebacker

6-1 | 235 pounds | Peoria, Arizona

Yes, Young is Nebraska’s leading returning tackler by a large margin. Even so, he absorbs his share of criticism on social media.

“It’s not my problem, honestly," he says. "I’m just trying to be the best player I can be.”

Originally recruited by Bo Pelini's staff, Young remains entrenched as a starter. At least that’s the impression Nebraska inside linebackers coach Barrett Ruud gave off during spring practice. In fact, Ruud's glowing assessment of Young was among the most striking developments of the spring because it ran counter to the narrative outside the program.

“I’d say it’s gone all right,” Young says of his career. “There’s been a few bumps. It’s gone OK. But it could be better.”

Young has made a lot of tackles in college (201 to be exact), but has only two sacks and one forced fumble.

It is in the area of explosive plays where Young could make a jump in his final season in the program.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7440 or ssipple@journalstar.com. On Twitter @HuskerExtraSip.

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Husker columnist

Steven, a lifelong Nebraskan, newspaper enthusiast and UNL grad, joined the Journal Star in 1990 and has covered NU football since 1995.

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