As Nebraska preseason camp 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. 25: Jackson Hannah, ILB, freshman
The run of freshmen on the list continues with Hannah, the linebacker from Nashville, Tennessee. At 6-foot-3 and 235 pounds, Hannah’s intrigue is a combination of skill set and positional depth, or lack thereof.
NU’s thinness inside behind a trio of upperclassmen is well-documented. Add to that the fact that Nick Henrich had shoulder surgery this spring and may not be ready for the beginning of the regular season, and it’s easy to see why so many are interested to see where Hannah — and York freshman Garrett Snodgrass — are at physically and mentally when camp starts.
Hannah had a prolific career as a playmaker for Montgomery Bell Academy and you’ll find some who think he’s as ready as any of Nebraska’s freshmen to jump into the fray. He only arrived on campus in June, so the learning curve will be steep. Barring injury, Barrett Ruud likely won’t have to ask Hannah to step in and start right away, but it’s not hard to imagine him on or near the two-deep right away.
Here’s another wrinkle: Hannah played outside and was a disruptive pass-rusher in high school. Nebraska is thin in both spots and loves versatile players. That could end up meaning something or nothing, but certainly for Hannah, being multifaceted will only help his push for early time.