Keith Williams

Wide receivers coach Keith Williams added a pair of pass catchers — JD Spielman and Derrion Grim — in the 2016 signing class.


Several Nebraska assistants made appearances on the athletic department's official website as part of the program's signing day video special. They chatted about the 2016 class, why they liked certain players and what the future might hold.

We've highlighted some of the comments, isolated by player. Here you go:

Linebackers coach Trent Bray: “He's going to play linebacker for us. He brings size and speed, that combination of the two. And the ability to rush the passer, which is an area we need to improve at the linebacker position.”

Defensive coordinator Mark Banker: “He's a big, physical guy. … He's a hybrid. He did drop in coverage at times, but what we really liked about him was his ability to come off the edge and rush the passer. At the same time, he was kind of a tweener size-wise — a guy that could put his hand on the ground but had the ability to go play linebacker.”

Defensive backs coach Brian Stewart: “So we found him at the satellite camp and put him through all our drills. I got a chance to coach him. … He was excellent. Very fast. Short-area quicks. Good ball skills. We were excited about that. So when we left the camp and got a chance to talk about it in the hotel, we decided to offer him.”

Offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh: “He's only played football for three years. Was a golfer, believe it or not. But he's a physical guy. Loves the game. Nasty dude.”

Running backs coach Reggie Davis: “When you look at his highlight film, the first things on there are pass protection. You don't see that a whole lot. … That's an important part, but something that gets missed a lot of times. The pass protection aspect. … He is multi-faceted. He has good speed. He has good balance. He's able to break tackles. He can do a lot of things for us.”

Stewart: “The thing about Tony, he could play two spots. He could play safety as well as corner. He has great ball skills and is a very clean tackler.” 

Stewart: “Short-area quickness. An overall tough kid. … Just an exceptional person. Good player. Good hands. Good speed.”

Banker: “JoJo Domann will probably start out with us actually playing safety. He's wanted to have an opportunity to do that. We don't have a problem with that, philosophically recruiting outside back to in. That versatility … he's one of those players. Football intellect is his thing. He really understands the game. Loves the game.”

Stewart: “He has a good safety skillset. Good ball skills, as well as a clean tackler. I think he's smart, so he can help us be a captain on the back-end there.”

Graduate assistant coach Tavita Thompson: “David came to one of our camps. He came as a linebacker. For a guy with that kind of size and physical ability — he got on the line and ran a sub-4.6 (40-yard dash). He's going to be on your radar.”

Cavanaugh: “I just love the family. You talk about a quality kid. The football part speaks for itself.”

Receiver coach Keith Williams: “He's versatile. He'll be able to play all three positions of our wideout positions. He's tough, he's smart, elusive. He has a lot of ability to run after the catch — which is very exciting, something that is very exciting to me when I'm looking at guys.”

Stewart: “He could play both (corner and safety). The big sell for him was we're going to play him at boundary corner. … Super athlete. Good ball skills. Tough. He's going to be a good tackler because he has nice size to put his body on guys.”

Banker: “In our recruitment of him, that's what Coach Stewart relayed to him, that he could play corner. … We're going to take a look at him at that position. He adds length, he adds physicality. He's certainly athletic enough.”

Special teams coach Bruce Read: “He's got excellent flexibility. His technique is well ahead of most high school kids at this time. … He's powerful. And he will just get stronger. … We are really earmarking him to be our punter, to take over for Sam (Foltz) in a year. We're hoping that we can redshirt him this year, develop him into those skills. And also be a kickoff guy. He does all three. And he's not bad at field goals. But punters are hard to find.”

Banker: “This time last year — I was just looking at a sheet of his that we have, we get a write-up on him — our biggest concern about him was it said '198.' He was barely 200 pounds. Right now he's probably about 235. That physical maturity.”

Hughes: “Collin is a guy we really liked in the spring. … He's put on some size. He had a big senior year. Put a lot of pressure on the quarterback. He's an explosive guy, and he's well put together. He's an impressive kid when you see him.”

Langsdorf: “I thought he was an accurate thrower. It really stood out. He had a lot of production. He's got a big arm. He makes all the throws. For a big guy, he runs pretty well. His overall quarterbacking ability really showed up on film.”

Cavanaugh: “You're talking about another guy with a tremendous work ethic. … I don't think he ever smiles. He's got a great attitude. A mean dude. I love that. … I think John could definitely play multiple positions. John's one of those guys that could handle outside. Our plan is to play him inside — he could be a hell of a center. But he could be a guy that, if you had to, could play tackle. He's got length to him. He's a good athlete.”

Banker: “Greg Simmons was at the very top of our board. Coach Bray did a great job with him, seeing him through. He was one of the first to kind of go through the gauntlet and the procedure of recruiting. We were lucky to get an early commitment out of him.”

Bray: “We want guys that are physical and can get downhill. He's out of high school one of the most instinctual players that I've recruited. So I'm very excited about what he can do.”

Langsdorf: “JD's going to be a speedster that's going to be kind of a fly-sweep runner, the inside receiver that we've had a lot of success with a player like him in our past. He kind of fits that role. I really like his speed.”

Williams: “He is quick, and explosive, and tough, and strong. He's going to be an impact player. Very lucky to have him.”

Banker: “Ben Stille, (he's) 35-0 as a wrestler. Just an aggressive kid. … It was a position of need, our defensive end position.”

Hughes: “He's gotten bigger, better. … He's a guy that's wrestling at about 245, 250 right now, so he's put on a substantial amount of weight. About a 6-4, 6-5 guy.”

Thompson: “He had success all over the field. Whether he was removed as a receiver, whether he was on the line blocking at the end, or in the backfield, lead blocking on a linebacker. It was funny because I had that conversation with him about how he has success all over the place. He goes, 'Coach, all it is is beating the guy in front of you.' And I was sold." 

Cavanaugh: “He's a tough guy. He does have that hand strength, I think that's important. … Once he does latch on to you, you're going to go for a ride. But to me, it's attitude. At the Under Armour game, a lot of guys had big heads. He said, 'I was going after everybody.' I think you've got to love that mentality.”

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