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Nebraska Football: Lone Star State freshmen making impact early



Nebraska football
Mandatory Credit: Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

There were many positive things to take away from Nebraska football’s 20-7 win over Illinois on Friday night. There were many solid playmakers on the defensive side of football, including two freshmen in  Princewill Umanmielen and Riley Van Poppel.

Umanmielen recorded an assisted tackle and half a sack.  Van Poppel had a tackle as well. His most notable play came on the goal line, as the Nebraska defense made a stand against the Illinois offense on the first drive of the game.

Both players looked comfortable in their positions, and the freshmen were able to assert themselves into the thick of things early on. They also give Nebraska football fans a chance to see what could be in store for the future. This Nebraska football coaching staff is not afraid to play freshman. This, combined with the fact that depth is an issue, are creating opportunities for these two to thrive.

Van Poppel has three total tackles on the season. Umanmielen has two tackles on the season. Those are certainly not eye-popping numbers. However, those two are being developed in real time.

Umamelien showed tremendous strength and instincts on the first sack of his career. He was able to drive the Illinois offensive lineman back. From there, he was able to make a big play. That play showcased his strengths and his instincts. The physicality he brings to the table and his pass-rushing abilities should translate extremely well to the college level.

Van Poppel was able to fill the defensive gap nicely on that goal line stand. He was able to overpower his offensive lineman, and immediately clogged the lanes for the running back. We were able to see what he could bring to the Nebraska football defense not only right now but in the future.

Overall, these two are developing at a high level. Friday night showcased their skills defensively. You never like to see injuries on the field. Nevertheless, these same injuries are allowing the freshmen to thrive. It will be interesting to see both of their development from here on out.

Danny is a Nebraska athletics fan and writer. He also enjoys writing about recruiting in his free time. Danny has been following the Huskers for the last five years. Find him on Twitter @NebCornholio.