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Spring practice

Luke McNitt (41) started his collegiate playing days at Nebraska-Kearney before transferring to Nebraska as a walk-on.

Luke McNitt isn't exactly new on the Husker scene.

Ardent Nebraska football fans became familiar with him as far back as 2014, when he sat out of games after transferring from Nebraska-Kearney, but impressed in practice.

It's safe to say he's made steady progress. In fact, "steady" may not do justice to his rise during the last year or so.

Teammates were buzzing about him Wednesday.

"Look for a big year out of McNitt," said senior middle linebacker Josh Banderas.

The 6-foot-2, 240-pound McNitt, a junior out of Kearney High, enters preseason drills Thursday prominent in the picture at fullback. Senior Graham Nabity and junior Harrison Jordan also are vying for playing time at that spot.

Banderas was effusive in his praise of McNitt.

"He has athleticism and he's strong and he's not scared to run into you," Banderas said. "That's a guy to watch. He's going to make some plays."

McNitt evidently is versatile.

"If they use him how I would use him in a video game ... he can catch passes," Banderas said. "He would be a hard match-up for a linebacker to cover on an out route."

What's more, McNitt is hard to beat in the weight room -- a guy who teammates gather around to watch work.

"He's definitely a monster in the weight room," senior running back Terrell Newby said.

To what extent?

Banderas said McNitt can power-clean nearly 400 pounds. For comparison's sake, Bando can get 350 on a good day, he said.

Newby smiles when discussion turns to McNitt in the weight room.

"He can lift anything in there," Newby said. "He's put in a lot of time and effort, especially this summer, from what I saw."

Now we'll see if McNitt can turn heads on the practice field.

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

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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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