Profiles in Slobberknocking: Meet Daimion Stafford
Profiles in Slobberknocking was a series we dreamt up last spring to help while away the offseason. Seeing as how the Huskers are all on spring break sunning themselves (or something) this week, now seemed like the perfect time to revive it.
If you remember Daimion Stafford's first game at Nebraska, and I'm guessing Chattanooga RB Chris Awuah certainly did, it is likely because of this:
On the day, Stafford had six total tackles, five unassisted, and the forced fumble you just saw. Pretty good debut.
The development of Stafford is going to be one of the things to watch for Nebraska this spring and into the fall. For the first half of the season, he was very good at being the heat-seeking missile seen above. It was essentially pure talent playing elemental football. Find the ball, go get the ball. Over the first six games he had 44 total tackles. He would finish with 80 tackles to rank third on the team behind Lavonte David and Will Compton, meaning he had 36 over the final seven games.
But that's not necessarily a drop-off. Rather, Stafford seemed to take some big steps towards becoming a competent coverage guy as the season progressed. Six of his 10 pass breakups came in the second half of the season, highlighted by the Michigan State game. Stafford had three pass breakups in that game alone, combining with CB Alfonzo Dennard to hold Spartans' WR B.J. Cunningham without a catch for the first time in 41 games.
As the one guy in the secondary most Husker fans feel relatively sure about, Stafford will play a key role from here on out. We've seen him hit. We've seen him get better in the passing game. Could he fill the role of a leader in the secondary too?
I'm excited to find out.