Make it three departures in two days for Nebraska football.
Avery Roberts was officially granted his release from the Husker program, a spokesman confirmed Wednesday afternoon.
The sophomore was a highly touted prospect when he arrived on campus from Wilmington, Delaware, but played sparingly as a freshman for Mike Riley and was buried on the depth chart in Barrett Ruud's position group.
Ruud made it clear at the end of spring ball that Roberts faced a critical summer.
"He's got to get in shape and he's got to get his movements a lot better," Ruud said in April. "He's a smart kid and he's worked hard at it, but his movements aren't where they need to be and his conditioning's not where it needs to be, so the summer's going to be huge for him. I think he needs to lose a little bit of weight and I think he needs to really, really buy in to what Coach (Zach) Duval wants him to do this summer."
When fall camp started, though, NU moved sophomore Collin Miller from outside linebacker to inside, where he quickly supplanted Roberts on the depth chart.
That left the former consensus four-star prospect on the outside of the two-deep looking in and battling junior walk-on Jacob Weinmaster for the No. 5 spot.
Roberts appeared in all 12 games for Nebraska in 2017 — largely on special teams and in clean-up duty — and finished his career here with four tackles.
His departure follows Monday's news that junior-college transfer Will Jackson had left the team and Tuesday's revelation that junior offensive lineman Jalin Barnett was stepping away from the game after suffering his fifth concussion of his college career.
"(Barnett)'s done a great job for us," said NU offensive line coach Greg Austin in confirming the departure. "He really improved his game since we arrived, and we were really counting on him to give us some quality depth and some quality backup depth," Austin said. "But when you sustain those too many times, you start thinking about it. And he’s decided that it’s in his best interest to step away at this point in time."
Austin said Barnett got "dinged pretty good" last week in practice, and was in concussion protocol until it came time to make a decision.
"And he consulted folks that were close to him, friends and family, and then he came into my office and consulted with me a little bit and the decision was made," Austin said.
Because each of the three began fall camp and received some form of aid, they count against NU's scholarship numbers for the fall and will clear in January. Those three spots, then, increase room in the 2019 recruiting class but cannot be taken for the 2018 season.
NU still has flexibility to grant scholarships to walk-ons if it so chooses — somewhere between two and four, depending on the eventual statuses of 2018 signee Dominick Watt and senior linebacker Sedrick King — though coach Scott Frost said last week they will not just hand out scholarships to walk-ons to fill space.