A potential impact defender whose status for this fall was in doubt will be allowed to play right away for Nebraska.
The Huskers learned Thursday that sophomore Breon Dixon has been granted a waiver by the NCAA and is eligible to compete immediately after transferring from Mississippi in January.
The decision was anticipated for Dixon and other departed Rebels after quarterback Shea Patterson, who landed at Michigan, received a waiver two weeks ago. Dixon, once a four-star recruit according to the 247Sports composite out of Loganville (Georgia) Grayson High, signed with Ole Miss in 2017 and made five tackles as a true freshman.
Dixon stuck with Mississippi, he told The World-Herald in January, because then-coach Hugh Freeze told him that the school would not receive more than a one-year bowl ban for NCAA rules violations. Ole Miss fired Freeze before the season, and the bowl ban was later extended. Several players left the program as a result, including Dixon, who said the Rebels’ coaching staff tried to “hide” some of the young talent on the depth chart so other teams wouldn’t notice.
Dixon joined NU in January, choosing the Huskers over Wisconsin. Scott Frost and his staff see the former defensive back as an outside linebacker/nickelback who could play near the line of scrimmage or cover slot receivers and tight ends in Erik Chinander’s 3-4 defense.
The 5-foot-11, 206-pound sophomore has drawn comparisons to Shaquem Griffin, the star pupil of outside linebackers coach Jovan Dewitt during their time together at UCF. The staff also moved Griffin from safety to linebacker, where he racked up 18 1⁄2 sacks and 33 1⁄2 tackles for loss in two seasons.
“God, that’d be nice,” Dewitt said in the spring. “(Dixon) is just learning the scheme — like everybody else is — but every now and then there’s a flash of his athletic ability from his DB days. He has the ability to burst you don’t normally see.”
Chinander said during spring workouts that NU coaches wanted to give Dixon a big enough “bank of reps” to settle in, but not too big to take away from others in case he was ruled ineligible.
“(Dixon) is repping with everybody else, and once we find out his official status then we’ll kind of make some adjustments with the depth chart.” Chinander said.
Outside linebacker will be a position to watch this fall. Senior Luke Gifford missed all of spring with an injury. Senior Sedrick King, junior Alex Davis and junior Tyrin Ferguson are among others who enjoyed strong springs and will contend for playing time.
Dixon has trained with former Husker linebacker Eric Johnson in Atlanta and is good friends with current NU inside linebacker Mohamed Barry, who is another Grayson graduate. Dixon made eight tackles in the spring game to go with half a sack and two tackles for loss. He also committed a pair of offside penalties.
Former Nebraska quarterback Tanner Lee signs with Jacksonville Jaguars
Former Nebraska quarterback officially signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday.
Financial terms of his contract were not disclosed, though First Coast News reported Lee received a four-year deal. The Jaguars selected Lee in the sixth round of last month’s NFL draft.
Lee signed after arriving in Jacksonville for rookie minicamp, which will be held through this weekend.
“It’s incredible,” Lee said in an interview with the Jaguars official web site. “It just motivates me to continue to do what I’ve always done and continue to set goals for myself. …
“It definitely made it feel more real. I didn’t know to expect, or what I was going to feel, but that was a big-time, goal-of-mine, dream-come-true moment. Those are always good.”
Lee was the only Husker taken in the draft, the second consecutive year NU failed to produce multiple picks, though the Huskers have had at least one player drafted for 56 straight years.
In Jacksonville, Lee will try to win a job backing up starter Blake Bortles. The Jaguars reached the AFC title game last season.
Lee was the first Husker quarterback drafted to play that position in 25 years. He played only one season for the Huskers after transferring from Tulane. He sat out in 2016 then beat Patrick O’Brien for the starting job in 2017. He started all 12 games for the Huskers last season, throwing for 3,143 yards with 23 touchdowns and 16 interceptions.