LINCOLN — Nebraska’s depth chart at cornerback got clearer this week when junior college transfer Will Jackson left the program Monday just months after joining it.
The well-traveled 6-foot-3, 200-pound junior had three previous stops in his college career, but he most recently played at Mesa (Ariz.) Community College. Jackson was expected to contend for a starting job, but an NU football spokesman said Jackson was not happy with his place on the depth chart heading into this week.
“We appreciate the competition Will helped incorporate into the room and we wish him the best,” the spokesman said.
Jackson, from Washington, D.C., started his career at Kentucky, which dismissed him in February 2016. After a short stay at Iowa Western Community College, Jackson landed at Mesa and played one season. He committed to Nebraska in early June, arrived later in the month and seemed likely to battle Lamar Jackson, Dicaprio Bootle and Eric Lee for starter status.
It never happened. Defensive backs coach Travis Fisher initially said Jackson battled hip problems upon his arrival, then said Jackson was a “slow blinker” on the field and was still working through the playbook.
“He’s still struggling with learning the playbook,” Fisher said. “He’s doing a good job of learning, but he’s not there. It’s sometimes not an easy deal for some guys. But he’ll get it. He’ll get it. He’s approaching it. He’s coming in extra. He’s got the right mind frame.”
When asked if Jackson was part of the playing rotation, Fisher said: “Everything is earned, nothing is given. If he’s not at the top of that production chart by the end of camp, then no. If he is, then yes.”
Instead, two freshman corners — Cam Taylor and Braxton Clark — have seemingly moved up the depth chart, joining Lamar Jackson, Bootle, Lee and redshirt freshman walk-on Ethan Cox from Blair. Fisher told the media Monday that Clark, a 6-4 product of Orlando, Florida, may have the most interceptions of any defensive back during camp.
“For him to come so far so quick, that’s excellent,” Fisher said of Clark.
Taylor has impressed coaches since he stepped on campus this summer and may be in the mix to start.
NU’s season opener is Sept. 1 vs. Akron.
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