It’s been thrilling for Cornhusker fans to watch commitments begin piling up thanks to the new Nebraska football staff’s efforts. They’re salivating over the possibilities for freshly-committed quarterback Adrian Martinez in Scott Frost’s offense. However, the defense could stand to use some new blood at its own quarterback position.
Nebraska loses Marcus Newby and Chris Weber to graduation while Luke Gifford and Dedrick Young appeared to be swimming at times in 2017, but someone who may be able to shore things up sooner than later is Butler Community College inside linebacker Will Honas.
When I first had the chance to watch Honas’ film, it was immediately clear why he would be an ideal fit for the middle of Erik Chinander’s defense. I hadn’t seen a linebacker that had his instincts for a good, long while. His ability to lay a vicious hit certainly is a plus and he even excels in pass rushing situations.
While discussing Honas with colleagues, one (Adam Sutton from Husker Hype, to be specific) mentioned an amazing similarity between Honas’ on-the-field impact and another former Husker’s: LaVonte David.
No one’s suggesting that Honas would have the type of impact David had, that’s setting the bar unbelievably high. However, he has the physical and mental tools to wield the kind of influence that David did as a member of the Blackshirts.
The parallels don’t stop at instinct and hard hits, though. The modern-day Tampa Bay Buccaneer also attended a Kansas junior college, Fort Scott. The offers read similar and one could easily make the argument that Honas appears to be more desired overall than David was.
He currently holds offers from Nebraska, Arkansas, Bowling Green California, Coastal Carolina, Eastern Michigan, Houston, Iowa, Kansas State, Ole Miss, Kansas, Louisville, Pittsburgh, and Toledo. By contrast, David had offers from Baylor, Florida International, Houston, Kansas, Kansas State, North Texas, Southern Miss, Tennessee and Tulsa in addition to the Huskers’.
In two years’ time, David tallied 285 tackles (150 solo), 24.5 tackles for loss, 11.5 sacks, two interceptions and forced three fumbles, recovering two. Not much happened after that aside from being selected in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft and evolving into one of the league’s best defenders at the position.
Now you understand why saying Honas will be a clone simply isn’t fair. Possible, but not fair.
We also have to take into account that David played in a 4-3 scheme under Bo Pelini while Honas would play in Chinander’s 3-4 look. Considering his speed and agility, it’s hard to think he’d be strictly kept to the inside spot, though.
Another very important aspect of Honas’ game is pass defense. Both Gifford and Young struggled mightily in both zone and man coverage last season. This is an area that the Wichita, Kan. native would improve next fall.
There is a fair immediate comparison to David when it comes to Honas’ ability to blitz. Both players have an amazing sense of where holes would open up and the ability to slip through them with ease.
It appears likely that he stays in the Big Ten which would be ideal for his skillset. He’s the type of weapon defensive coordinators want on hand to stop the style of running back you’ll see every year in the Midwestern conference. However, the question at this point appears to be will he be a Hawkeye or a Husker?
We may find out soon. He’s scheduled to visit Lincoln this weekend.