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Friday Night Lights, 6/22

Nebraska player Caleb Tannor walks the sidelines on June 22 during Friday Night Lights at Memorial Stadium.

Nebraska's head coach has compared him to one of the best-known players from Central Florida's unbeaten season.

SEC powers Auburn, Florida, Tennessee and Georgia all vied for his services.

After he arrived at Nebraska, many assumed it would only be a matter of time before he was a regular in the defensive rotation.

Then the first game came and … not much.

Caleb Tannor got his feet wet, literally, playing on Nebraska's kickoff return team against Akron. Then, against Colorado, the four-star outside linebacker from Georgia saw action only on special teams after an illness limited him in practice earlier in the week.

"I got to do some talking, do some smashing," Tannor said Monday in his first public comments since arriving on NU's campus.

He hopes to do some more smashing soon, and he feels like he's on the right track.

"I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing. I think I’m doing the right thing. So I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing and I should see that field," Tannor said. "I’ve just got to keep doing it. They’re (the coaches) not trying to boost my head up or anything, because they know how freshmen get and I understand that. So I’m just going with the flow. Attack, attack, attack."

The 6-foot-3, 225-pounder will fill a unique role in Nebraska's defense as a player who can rush the passer off the edge and play coverage in space. It's the same role Central Florida star Shaquem Griffin played last year on his way to national stardom.

“We need outside pass rushers,” NU coach Scott Frost said of Tannor in February. “We had a kid like that in Shaquem Griffin, and we’re looking forward to having that dynamic player here and I hope we got it.”

A former verbal commit to Georgia, Tannor arrived at Nebraska in the spring, and soon after began to make an impression.

NU outside linebackers coach Jovan Dewitt spoke highly of Tannor midway through fall camp, when position battles were still heated.

“He’s done a really good job. He’s adapted to college football as fast as any freshman I’ve seen," Dewitt said in mid-August. "I’m pleased and impressed with how he’s been able to grasp our concepts, and his attention to detail in practice is really good, which is not very common for a freshman to have.”

Now, Tannor said, it's a matter of staying the course.

"It’s a big step. It’s just putting in the work. Fall camp was hell. It’s not like high school, most definitely. Especially my high school," he said. "So it’s just getting that good work ethic in, that good grind, and going to work harder."

Reach the writer at 402-473-7436 or cbasnett@journalstar.com. On Twitter @HuskerExtraCB.

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Husker basketball reporter

A Ravenna native, Chris covers the University of Nebraska men's basketball team and assists with football coverage. He spent nearly 10 years covering sports at the Kearney Hub and nearly four years at the Springfield News-Leader in Springfield, Mo.

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