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Most Intriguing Huskers: No. 26, redshirt freshman RT Bryce Benhart
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Most Intriguing Huskers: No. 26, redshirt freshman RT Bryce Benhart

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Penn State vs. Nebraska, 11.14

Nebraska lineman Bryce Benhart heads off the field following warmups before the Penn State game Nov. 15 at Memorial Stadium.

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

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

No. 27: Sevion Morrison, running back, freshman 

No. 26: RT Bryce Benhart, rfr.

A funny thing happens when Nebraska football players stroll around without their jerseys on or work with high school kids during a Friday Night Lights camp without their name and number readily visible from the sideline.

The folks in West Stadium watching tend to find their eyes wandering toward one player in particular. A reporter in the month of June fielded multiple inquiries from fans along the same lines: “Who is THAT?”

That, usually, was redshirt freshman right tackle Bryce Benhart, normally the single largest person on a field that is accustomed to large people.

The 6-foot-9, 330-pound tackle got thrown into the fire in 2020 as NU’s starter and fared OK, flashing some promising signs and also sometimes looking like a freshman adjusting to an entirely new level of competition. That’s what makes Benhart’s second act just as interesting as his first or perhaps even more so.

If he can iron out his play and maintain a consistently high bar, the Huskers are going to be in good shape on the right side of the offensive line. If he continues to struggle, does he get the entire season to work through it, or do offensive line coach Greg Austin and company look at other options? Nebraska has had extremely tall guards in the past, such as Zach Sterup, though it’s not particularly common.

That conversation may not end up being necessary at all if Benhart makes strides in his second season as a starter. Austin challenged him to be consistent this spring and said he saw signs of progress in that department. Enough to help turn a young, talented offensive line into a consistently good one? That will be an interesting situation to monitor.

Parker Gabriel

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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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