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Illinois at Nebraska, 11/10/18

Nebraska's Collin Miller (31) motions that Nebraska gained control of the ball on an Illinois fumble on Nov. 10 during the first half at Memorial Stadium. 

As Nebraska preseason approaches, Husker Extra is counting down the 30 most intriguing players on the roster.

A couple of notes: This isn’t best player or most important. As a list based on intrigue, it skews a bit toward youth and new players, but there will be plenty of established contributors, too.

The only scholarship player not considered for the list is defensive lineman Jahkeem Green, because at the outset of our countdown he is still in junior college and is only verbally bound to Nebraska.

No. 29: Collin Miller, ILB, junior

Miller, for the first time in his college career, has a chance to play the same position for a second straight season. The junior from Indiana didn’t slide to inside linebacker until the outset of preseason camp last year.

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He provided depth to the starting pair of Mohamed Barry and Dedrick Young, but has yet to lock down a full-time job in his Husker career.

This is his best chance yet. Barry — not on this list because, well, there aren’t many questions about his position or importance to Erik Chinander’s defense — will man one spot. Miller’s chief competition for a starting job is fellow junior Will Honas, who spent the winter and spring recovering from a torn ACL suffered in late September against Michigan. After that pair, there are only a trio of scholarship freshmen and a couple of highly regarded (but still young) walk-ons.

Miller, at 6-foot-3 and 245 pounds, is a good natural athlete, but the timing of his move last summer put him well behind the others in learning the extensive details that Barrett Ruud teaches. It’s not easy to process everything Ruud demands in terms of eyes, reads and footwork, but if Miller has those mastered, he’ll be in line to be a major contributor this fall.

Contact the writer at pgabriel@journalstar.com or 402-473-7439. On Twitter @HuskerExtraPG.

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Sports writer

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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