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LINCOLN — Of all the things still in front of Nebraska with three games to play, there is one goal Frost can control more than most.
The coach reiterated Wednesday that preserving that extra year of eligibility for most members of the 2019 recruiting class remains a priority. Four freshmen so far have surpassed the four-game limit to keep that extra season: outside linebacker Garrett Nelson (nine games), running back Wan’Dale Robinson (nine), defensive back Quinton Newsome (seven) and walk-on linebacker Luke Reimer (seven).
“We’re going to try to use as many guys as we can without wasting a year,” Frost said. “And if guys were going to get limited reps, it doesn’t make any sense to play them 30 snaps all year and have that be one of their years of eligibility. So we gotta look out for the team, No. 1, but also for those guys’ well being. And just burning a year to play a few snaps here and there doesn’t make sense. But if we have games left with them, we’ll try (to play them).”
Four Husker freshmen have been in three contests — running back Rahmir Johnson, receiver Darien Chase and defensive backs Myles Farmer and Noa Pola-Gates. Johnson was on the field briefly in a decoy role against Purdue but logged his second straight appearance without touching the ball.
“When guys are ready to play, it’s pretty obvious to us as coaches when they’re ready to get in there and play,” Frost said. “I think Rahmir’s really close.”
Frost added that the Friday practices between younger players have been encouraging, as the sessions look “completely different” than last year. Many of those Huskers, the coach said, “are going to be contributing real soon.”
Other freshmen to play in multiple games this year are quarterback Luke McCaffrey and tight end Chris Hickman.
Also of note, sophomore kicker Barret Pickering has appeared in two games and could potentially redshirt if he sits out one of the final three contests. He played as a true freshman in 2018. Junior college transfer and defensive lineman Jahkeem Green is in line to redshirt even if he played the rest of the regular season. He made his Nebraska debut against Ohio State.