Voting Criteria: Player’s importance to the team in 2021, overall talent, and future potential for the upcoming season. A player’s long-term/NFL prospects were not taken into consideration.
Voting Panel: Publisher Sean Callahan, HuskerOnline.com senior writer Robin Washut, videographer Gregg Peterson, KETV Sports Director Andy Kendeigh, and HOL intern Abby Barmore.
25. Tyreke Johnson, CB, So.
With two open scholarships at its disposal, bolstering the defensive back depth was arguably the top priority for Nebraska coming out of spring ball.
The Huskers addressed that need in a big way by landing Ohio State transfer and former five-star prospect Tyreke Johnson.
The 6-foot-1, 190-pound cornerback starred at Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity International, which is the same high school that produced current Husker safety, Deontai Williams.
Johnson signed with the Buckeyes in 2018 and redshirted that season. He played in a total of 12 games over the 2019 and 2020 seasons.
Most expect Johnson to immediately enter the conversation for the No. 2 corner spot opposite of Cam Taylor-Britt once practices resume this fall.
24. Travis Vokolek, TE, Jr.
After sitting out the 2019 season as a transfer from Rutgers, Travis Vokolek made his Nebraska debut last year and made his presence felt more by the week.
The junior tight end and 2019 Offensive Scout Team MVP appeared in all eight games and started the final four. He finished the season with nine catches for 91 yards, with six of those grabs coming over the last four contests.
Vokolek will likely be the No. 2 tight end behind Austin Allen, but the Huskers could utilize more two-tight end sets this year to maximize one of their best offensive strengths.
If so, the 6-foot-6, 260-pounder should see a bevy of snaps in 2021.
23. Quinton Newsome, CB, So.
One of the top position battles of the offseason is for the No. 2 cornerback spot opposite Cam Taylor-Britt. As spring ball wrapped up, Quinton Newsome appeared to be the early front runner for that spot.
After playing 149 snaps defensive snaps in 2020, the sophomore boasts the most game experience as a Husker of any NU cornerback not named Taylor-Britt.
He saw extensive action in every game and made his first career start against Northwestern, finishing the year with 11 tackles and a forced fumble.
Newsome will continue to battle with Braxton Clark, Nadab Joseph, and now Tyreke Johnson this fall, but he might have a slight leg up going into camp.
22. Ethan Piper, OL, RFr.
Ethan Piper didn’t open the 2020 season as a starter, but by Week 2, he had established himself as a fixture on Nebraska’s top offensive line group.
Piper appeared in all eight games and started the final seven, played 515 snaps as a redshirt freshman.
Now he looks set as the No. 1 left guard going into the start of fall camp.
Piper is among a corps of young offensive linemen that earned valuable experience last season and should be poised for a big step forward in 2021.
21. Caleb Tannor, OLB, Jr.
Nebraska has been searching for an elite edge rusher since Randy Gregory moved on to the NFL. Once again, the hope is that Caleb Tannor will step up and finally fill that void.
Despite plenty of opportunities over the past three years, though, the junior outside linebacker has just 5.5 career sacks.
The good news is that Tannor is coming off his best campaign yet despite a shortened 2020 season. The Stone Mountain, Ga., native recorded a career-high 23 tackles along with two sacks and a forced fumble in eight games.
Tannor has always had the potential to be the pass-rushing threat the Huskers desperately need, and he’ll have every chance again this year to live up to that role.