As we inch closer to spring practice for the 2024 season I sit and think of units that are going to make a difference this season, the defensive line’s potential tends to play on a loop in my head. From the obvious names such as Ty Robinson and Nash Hutmacher to younger potential 2024 impact players like Princewill Umanmielen who had 22 tackles last year and only started 1 game to Cam Leindhart who racked up 3 sacks last year as a true freshman but showed a massive upside. Let’s take a look at this group and see where they may stack up in 2024. 


In this new look Big 10 adding teams like Oregon, Washington and USC or even new coaches such as Wisconsin’s Luke Fickell we may see less of the abusive ground and pound game that we have become accustomed to. Don’t get me wrong, it will still be a big part of some Big 10 teams, but now not only will Nebraska need big bodies to take up blockers and let linebackers make the play. We now will need guys who can pressure the quarterback into making mistakes and to help turn the tide in Nebraska’s 3 point loss imprecation and I do believe this year Nebraska has just the pieces to do so.


The big man duo of Nash Hutmacher and Ty Robinson is a great place to start. Nash participating in wrestling this winter means that he will come back a bit lighter and faster than last year and will also have better handwork and leverage, which as a defensive lineman is indispensable. Not only now possessing the ability to take on blockers and help shut down the run game but also being able to get after the quarterback in passing situations with a faster first step. Pairing Nash’s improved attributes with Ty Robinsons’ much improved 2023 season and the ability for Elijah Jeudy to rotate in keeping them fresh, we will have two of the best interior defensive linemen in the Big Ten.


Princewill U and Cam Leindhart will be our key pieces on the edge. There were way too many opportunities for quarterbacks to sit back in passing situations in 2023 and take their shot downfield. With Princewill and Cam both having a year of playtime under their belt, that aforementioned pocket may start to collapse at a pace that opponents quarterbacks are no longer comfortable with. Throwing in MJ Sherman, Jimari Butler, and third down specialist and possible 2024 diamond in the rough James Williams will help round out the deepest and most effective defensive line the Huskers have seen in a decade. From pressuring the quarterback to stopping the run this 2024 husker defensive line seemingly has all of the needed pieces. Can they top what we saw in 2023? I do believe so.