Nebraska's defensive line apparently will get a new player with some experience in the college game.
Vaha Vainuku, a former Utah lineman who played sparingly in 2016, appears set to join Nebraska's program as a two-year graduate transfer, meaning he would be eligible to play in 2018 and 2019. NU can't officially acknowledge the transfer until Vainuku signs scholarship papers.
The 6-foot-3, 295-pound Vainuku was on a flight Friday and unavailable for comment, but did tweet the following:
Long story short, I need to learn how to husk corn now!🌽 lol Beyond grateful to be able to play this game again and to do it for this stud of a Coach! Lets go Husker Nation🔴⚫️⚪️ #GBR pic.twitter.com/o5oiG65yrM— Vaha Vainuku (@Vee_Stringz1) June 1, 2018
According to The Salt Lake Tribune, Vainuku left the Utah program in April of 2017 because of a foot injury he suffered in 2016. He continued his studies at Utah on a medical hardship and received a bachelor's degree.
He was sidelined in 2015 with an injury and redshirted before being limited to two games in 2016 because of the foot injury. Although he came to Utah as a defensive lineman, he played on the offensive side in 2016 out of necessity -- although Nebraska apparently wants him on defense.
He graduated in 2012 from Salt Lake City East High, where he was a star on the gridiron and also won a state championship in shot put (50-03.25). He served an LDS Church mission before joining the Utes in 2015.
A Rivals.com three-star defensive tackle recruit in the class of 2012, Vainuku was ranked as the state of Utah's eighth-best player overall as a senior. He chose Utah over Washington State, but visited only Utah, according to Rivals.
It's possible Vainuku could help Nebraska at nose tackle, where the Huskers have three scholarship players -- seniors Mick Stoltenberg and Peyton Newell as well as redshirt freshman Damion Daniels.