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. 24: DL Casey Rogers, so.
It feels like a long time ago now, but in the lead-up to the 2020 football season, many wondered if the Nebraska defensive line was bound to regress from 2019 because it sent its starting trio of Carlos and Khalil Davis and Darrion Daniels off to the NFL.
Instead of backtracking, though, Nebraska arguably got better up front. Several players contributed to that rise — and several more are on this list — but nobody played a bigger role than Rogers.
The sophomore from Syracuse, New York, stood out in his first year playing essentially full time. The intriguing part this summer is the natural question: Just how much better can he get?
Rogers (6-foot-4, 300) was a talented lacrosse recruit in high school who opted instead for football and was always going to be a bit of a development project. Since he’s arrived in Lincoln, Rogers has put on weight, learned from Tony Tuioti — and older defensive linemen such as Daniels, whom Rogers lived with — and has continued to get better every season.
He finished with 24 tackles (three for loss) and a sack in 2020 and was part of a consistent rotation that also included Ty Robinson and Ben Stille at end. NU moves its front-line players around quite a bit and plays multiple fronts, but Rogers has shown the versatility that Tuioti covets.
With Stille back for a sixth season, Deontre Thomas healthy after missing all but two games and some promising up-and-comers looking for time in the rotation, there’s plenty of competition for snaps in Tuioti’s room. Just how disruptive the group can be depends on several players, but Rogers figures to be right in the middle of the action.
— Parker Gabriel
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