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Most Intriguing Huskers: No. 22, freshman DL Nash Hutmacher
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Most Intriguing Huskers: No. 22, freshman DL Nash Hutmacher

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As the countdown to the beginning of Nebraska’s preseason camp continues, the Journal Star is counting down its annual list of the 30 Most Intriguing Huskers.

The list, as always, is not about the 30 best players or the 30 most important players, but is based instead purely on intrigue. We’ll cover breakout candidates, new faces, old heads and more. The list tends to skew toward youth and inexperience because, well, those types of players are intriguing. But there are more than a few regulars, too.

No. 30: Thomas Fidone, tight end, freshman

No. 29: Will Nixon, wide receiver, freshman

No. 28: Noa Pola-Gates, defensive back, redshirt freshman

No. 27: Sevion Morrison, running back, freshman

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No. 26: Bryce Benhart, right tackle, redshirt freshman

No. 25: Myles Farmer, safety, redshirt freshman 

No. 24: Casey Rogers, defensive lineman, sophomore

No. 23: Oliver Martin, wide receiver, junior

No. 22: DL Nash Hutmacher, fr. 

So far on the Most Intriguing Huskers list, there have been several players that have bright futures but maybe not exactly a defined role at this point in 2021.

Hutmacher fits that description, too.

The 6-foot-5, 330-pound defensive lineman, dubbed “Polar Bear,” was a fan favorite from the time he verbally committed to Nebraska over Wisconsin and Oregon. This spring, he took a step toward impressing his position coach and teammates, too.

Tuioti talked about the Chamberlain, South Dakota, native’s improved agility and foot speed this spring. He showed some of that in the Red-White Spring Game, logging six tackles and a sack.

Defensive tackle Damion Daniels reminded, too, of Hutmacher’s exploits in the weight room.

“Nash is one of the strongest people, probably, in the program right now,” Daniels said at the outset of spring ball. “Watching him move the weight, it’s ridiculous. He’s moving way better than when before he first got here. Just looking at how far he’s come since he’s been here, that’s pretty big.”

Daniels’ continued improvement along with fellow junior Jordon Riley and others like Ty Robinson, who can play inside or at defensive end, means Hutmacher may not have a major role in 2021. Could he be more regularly counted on in run-heavy situations or goal line packages? In a deep room with lots of returning snaps, that would be a good next step for the freshman.

The NCAA’s eligibility extension means Daniels and Riley have the option of returning for 2022, but neither is guaranteed to be back. Hutmacher’s time manning the middle more regularly is coming, it’s just a matter of exactly when.

Parker Gabriel

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Defensive line coach Tony Tuioti said he has at least six players he can trust and potentially seven, but it’s unclear if any of NU’s next wave of players will crack the rotation this fall.

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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