LINCOLN — Jahkeem Green made his presence felt Tuesday even though he wasn’t part of practice.
Many Nebraska players got their first look at the 6-foot-5, 315-pound defensive lineman during meetings. Coaches were reminded why they continued to recruit him hard through the summer while the former Highland (Kan.) Community College standout was finishing online coursework and being courted by other major programs.
“That’s a big dude,” NU senior linebacker Mohamed Barry said. “A big, stout dude. I’m going to call him ‘the Triplet.’ He’s like another Davis twin.”
Added nose tackle Darrion Daniels, who measures 6-4 and 340: “He carries 327 better than I do.”
Green officially became a Husker on Monday when he signed his scholarship tender after arriving on campus over the weekend. Defensive coordinator Erik Chinander said Tuesday that Green, at the very least, will add depth to an already deep front. Defensive line coach Tony Tuioti said Green has potential, but he will have to “close the gap” with conditioning, game speed and knowledge of the defensive scheme. He has already missed the first 10 practices of fall camp while waiting for his summer grades to be posted.
“I’m sure he’ll challenge for a starting role,” Chinander said. “Just because he got here late doesn’t mean he can’t be in that thing.”
Both Chinander and Tuioti — able to comment publicly about Green for the first time — said landing the lineman took considerable and consistent effort from the NU staff in recent months as he took an official visit to Texas Tech and stayed quiet about his thought process. Nebraska felt good the whole way, Chinander said, “but that’s all it is is feeling good.”
Tuioti said he hopes Green will have cleared all medical and procedural hurdles in time to participate in Wednesday’s practice. Then he’ll become a full member of Tuioti’s self-titled “Rookie School,” which seeks to get standouts like Green and true freshman Ty Robinson ready to contribute this fall.
Green has three seasons to play two.
“We’re just happy that he’s finally here,” Tuioti said. “We had to battle all the way through the end. For as big as he is and as athletic as he is, I think he has the positional flex to play end or nose for us. That was one of the big reasons we wanted to get a big body like his here.”