Will Roach Take a Starting Job?
Among the topics of note early this spring has been the return of walk-on linebacker Trevor Roach for Nebraska. If the name doesn't spark excitement, it's worth noting that he had an outstanding spring a year ago before injuries kept him off the field in 2013.
At 6'2" and 235 lbs., he has good size for a Big Ten linebacker. He led the team in tackles in last year's spring game and was the only player to record a pass breakup.
While walk-ons don't often excite Husker fans, they have a good history at NU. NFL linebacker Stewart Bradley began as a walk-on before becoming a 3rd round draft pick. Back in the day, Clete Pillen walked on at linebacker and became a second-team All-American.
Roach sat atop the depth chart at middle linebacker following the Capital One Bowl loss to Georgia. Bo Pelini has praised him for the leadership he provides as an experienced upperclassman.
There's enough competition that he'll have to earn a starting spot or even a spot in the two-deep rotation. Don't be surprised if that's exactly what happens. A big linebacker that can make the correct defensive calls, form tackle, and even help in coverage is going to have an opportunity to play regardless of how highly rated he was as a prospect nationally coming out of high school four years ago.