As recently as the beginning of preseason camp, Nebraska tight ends coach Sean Beckton didn’t think freshman Chris Hickman would be ready to contribute this season.
Hickman, the 6-foot-6, 200-pounder from Omaha, had spring shoulder surgery and needed to make up a ton of ground in the weight room in order for Beckton and the Nebraska coaching staff to consider putting him on the field.
Fast forward nine games into the season, though, and Hickman is looking at an increased role and a bright future.
“He is going to be a good player,” head coach Scott Frost said Monday. … “I have a lot of excitement about the future when I see a lot of the young kids and Chris Hickman is one of them. He hasn’t played a lot this year, but he has really shown us some things in practice and on the game field.
“We are going to use him as much as we can and still try to save his year.”
Hickman has played in two games so far and can play in two more while retaining a redshirt. Coming out of the bye week, he is listed as a wide receiver rather than a tight end. Against Purdue earlier this month, Hickman lined up in the backfield and delivered a couple of nice blocks in the run game.
“He was sick as a dog against Purdue, but he wasn’t going to tell anybody and he was going to be out there,” Frost said. “We didn’t play him as many snaps as we wanted to because of circumstances in the game and because of him being sick. But when he was out there he did a great job. He has consistently been one of our best, if not our best perimeter blocker in practice so he was just able to show that in the game.”
Mazour on scholarship: Frost confirmed Monday that NU gave its final remaining scholarship for the fall to senior running back Wyatt Mazour.
Mazour, the Albion native, also earned one from the staff last season.
“We wanted to give it to a guy that earned it and represented Nebraska best,” Frost said.
Scholarships can work retroactively, so Mazour’s will cover the fall semester even though he was awarded it after the semester started.
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Domann takes responsibility: Junior outside linebacker JoJo Domann said he should have made a better play on the David Bell’s touchdown run on a reverse that stood as the game-winner for Purdue two weeks ago.
“Everyone has to do their job and I didn’t do mine and we paid the price for it,” Domann said. “I was supposed to go to the quarterback, and if I would’ve gone to the quarterback and strictly just the quarterback, I would’ve seen the reverse and been able to make a play on that. …
“I blacked out. I wanted to make a play, I wanted to make a stop and I didn’t do my job.”
Frost talks UW defense: Frost on Monday said he’s impressed with Wisconsin’s defense.
A year ago, NU lost 41-24 but piled up 518 offensive yards.
This fall, the Badgers are ranked No. 7 nationally in scoring defense (12.6 points), No. 10 in rushing defense (2.91 yards per carry), No. 2 in passing defense (5.1 yards per attempt) and No. 2 in total defense (4.01 yards per play).
“They have talent. I think they’re a better defense than they were a year ago for sure,” Frost said. “They got a few players who are real difference-makers. I have been really impressed with (senior outside linebacker Zach Baun). He’s all over the field. He’s a pass rusher. He tackles everywhere. He’s physical."
“There are a lot of good guys around, him too. They are very sound. They don’t give you much easy. They stay on top of things in the pass game and get a lot of people in the box to stuff the run. I think that both sides of the ball complement who they are. They know their identity, and they are good at it.”
Four-star DB sets official visit: Four-star defensive back Kendall Dennis (Lakeland, Florida) announced on Monday that he’ll be taking an official visit to Nebraska this weekend.
He’s set to join other touted expected visitors like four-star wide receiver Lavon Bunkley-Shelton (Gardena, California), four-star defensive back Darion Green-Warren (Harbor City, California), four-star defensive lineman DeShawn Lynch (Folsom, California) and three-star offensive lineman Zane Herring (Madison, Florida).