Javin Wright and Myles Farmer could someday give Nebraska a physically imposing pair of safeties on the back end of the defense.
Or, perhaps one or both will turn into one of the bigger, longer cornerbacks in the Big Ten.
Heck, maybe either or both will end up playing entire spots all together, whether as pass-rushing linebackers or a slot-type role like the one sophomore JoJo Domann manned when healthy this fall for the Huskers.
The bottom line is that NU is excited to have the pair, along with fellow defensive back Quinton Newsome, as 2019 signees because they’re versatile and they add length and strength to the back level (or two) of Erik Chinander’s defense.
“(Secondary) coach (Travis Fisher) did a great job there,” head coach Scott Frost said on National Signing Day on the Husker Sports Nightly radio program. “I think he does a great job of recruiting and a great job of evaluating.”
All three showed the ability to play both cornerback and safety at the high school level, checking a key box for Fisher, who says he puts a premium on players who can handle multiple spots.
In Farmer (6-foot-3 and 195 pounds) and Wright (6-3, 200), Nebraska also found a pair of players who have the kind of frames college programs salivate over.
“I think if I had to pick a guy that I think is underrated in this class it’s Myles,” Frost said. “When you’re around him, you see a look in his eye that he wants to be great. He will hit you. I don’t think he’s even scratched the surface yet on how big and fast he can get. …
“I’m fired up about Myles. We’re going to start him off at safety. I think he’ll be a great safety and I think if (head strength coach) Zach (Duval) gets a hold of him for too long, we’re going to be able to move him down to field outside linebacker a little bit. I think he doesn’t get the credit he deserves for the kind of football player he is.”
A nearly identical projection can be made about Wright, who Fisher said in a signing day video is still growing and may already be closer to 6-foot-4. At Hamilton High in Chandler, Arizona, Wright did a little bit of everything but had his season curtailed by injury.
“He’s going to be able to offer us a lot,” Fisher said. “He’s very physical on the outside and for a tall guy, he bends very well to be able to play corner. I can move him, put him at safety, move him to a lot of different spots.”
Wright’s dad Toby, of course, was a physical player in his days at NU and later in the NFL.
“If Javin hits like his dad, he’s going make a lot of money playing this game,” Frost said.
Newsome isn’t quite as big as the other two, but at 6-2 and 195, he’s still got a big frame and hails from one of the most recruited areas of the country at North Gwinnett High in Georgia.
“He gets his hands on the ball and has very good ball skills,” Fisher said. “Quinton is one of the top guys in the country coming out.”
Of course, the trio won’t just all waltz into playing time as freshmen here, but they do continue a trend. In 2018, the first set of additions from this staff included cornerbacks Braxton Clark (6-4, 200) and Cam Taylor (6-0, 205) and safeties C.J. Smith (6-2, 205) and Cam’ron Jones (6-0, 200). NU is also still after another highly regarded, rangy defensive back in Noa Pola-Gates (6-1, 185) from Arizona and perhaps others like Georgia cornerback Tavian Mayo (5-11, 180) and defensive back Jamel Starks (5-11, 180) or Alabama’s DJ James (6-0, 170).
The Huskers return their top three corners in Lamar Jackson, Dicaprio Bootle and Taylor and have some returning experience at safety in Deontai Williams, Domann and Marquel Dismuke, but there’s certainly going to be time up for grabs that the new trio -- and whomever else NU might add -- will vie for alongside the others.
“We’re always trying to recruit the best we can and the guys we are recruiting we think have the athletic ability and skill to come in and play,” Frost said. “Usually the biggest factor in determining whether somebody plays or not is their level of maturity and if they approach their preparation and approach football like a pro and like an adult, so that usually has more to do with whether they get on the field their freshman year than anything else. I tell guys to come in and dive in, go full speed, don’t dip your toe in the water.
“I’d rather see guys tackle the wrong guy full speed than the right guy half speed," Frost said. "The guys that come in and just let it rip, usually you can see it right away and those guys are typically ready to try to contribute.”