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Lamar Jackson

Lamar Jackson was benched a year ago and now he’s considered a team leader. The senior cornerback has had his share of ups and downs, but he has a chance to form a solid duo outside with junior Dicaprio Bootle.

As Nebraska's 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 committed to Nebraska.

No. 8: Lamar Jackson, CB, senior

Among the most memorable moments of spring practice occurred when Jackson, wearing a wide smile, informed reporters that he was the proud father of a new baby boy.

"You look at that little live creature and see you," Jackson said. "It's been a great experience. … Just the whole process of having a child is life-changing."

Jackson has had a bit of a rocky road in college but has grown into quite a player. He was benched midway through last season but finished strong and now is regarded as one of the leaders of the defense. Secondary coach Travis Fisher said Jackson and safety Deontai Williams had the most interceptions during the spring.

In other words, Lamar has been making Legacy Nathan Jackson proud. Last season, the elder Jackson recorded a career-high seven pass breakups and his first two career interceptions.

Make no mistake, Fisher expects a lot from his corners — junior Dicaprio Bootle (12 starts last season) and Jackson (11).

"I'm very comfortable with knowing exactly their strengths and weaknesses, and also they know what to get out of me as a coach," Fisher said at the close of spring drills, making sure to include sophomore Cam Taylor in the discussion. "Those three guys at the corner position are guys that I feel very comfortable every time they're in (a game).

"Lamar is the oldest one. But Cam and Dicaprio mentally are just like seniors. Cam would be a little under a senior as far as what he knows. His ability makes up for it a little bit."

The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Jackson has plenty of natural ability. It'll be intriguing to see just how well he finishes off his college career.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7440 or ssipple@journalstar.com. On Twitter @HuskerExtraSip.

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Husker columnist

Steven, a lifelong Nebraskan, newspaper enthusiast and UNL grad, joined the Journal Star in 1990 and has covered NU football since 1995.

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