Khalil Davis is a strong fellow. This we already knew.

His Nebraska football teammates learned that during Davis' first spring on campus. Then a freshman, the Blue Springs, Missouri, native won the Husker Power Athlete of the Year Award.

The final test: A squat weight lift.

Davis lifted 485 pounds of iron 10 times in front of a large rowdy audience (his teammates).

So, yeah, a strong human being.

But Davis learned something of himself during his first season of game action. Asked what areas he has made leaps since the spring, the 6-foot-2, 290-pounder pointed to strength.

"Just getting stronger," said Davis, who was around 270 pounds his senior year in high school. "to play against big guys at Wisconsin and all those other schools."

Lining up against some of the stronger Huskers on the offensive side has aided the development of Davis, who said he goes up against Tanner Farmer and Gerald Foster the most. Farmer was among the top finishers in the 2016 power index performance test.

"They always bring the pressure, they always bring the heat, so they keep me on my toes all the time," Davis said.

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Davis, whose twin brother, Carlos, played a prominent role in 13 games in 2016, appeared in 12 contests in a reserve role, and made five tackles.

Now he's ready to take on a role much like his brother's in Bob Diaco's 3-4 defense. That includes learning each of the front three spots.

"If we all learn all those positions, we all could play anywhere," Davis said.

The versatile sophomore is doing just that this offseason. After working primarily behind Mick Stoltenberg at nose tackle during the spring, Davis has been taking reps at defensive end behind Freedom Akinmoladun during the first two weeks of fall camp. He's also see time with the No. 1 unit.

Like his brother, Davis has shown an ability to play at multiple spots in a 3-4 — or 4-3 — scheme.

Davis' athleticism is a big reason why. He was a strong swimmer at a young age. As they got older, the Davis twins took a liking to football and track and field.

They competed for the Nebraska track and field team the past two seasons. Khalil threw the discus 184-plus feet during the 2016 Big Ten Outdoor Championships to place third, and he finished 11th at the same meet this past spring.

The focus quickly turned back to football this summer. Davis said he continues to work on technique and "making plays."

Nebraska fans are eager to see Huskers making plays in Diaco's 3-4 scheme when they open against Arkansas State on Sept. 2 at Memorial Stadium. Davis seems just as eager for the big reveal.

"We're all just ready to go show what we can do," Davis said. "There's a lot of different talents and a lot of different schemes and different things we can do. It's going to be pretty scary to see."

Reach the writer at 402-473-2639 or cgrell@journalstar.com. On Twitter @LJSSportsGrell.


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