Husker linebacker Avery Roberts granted release to transfer
LINCOLN — One of the most ballyhooed recruits of the Mike Riley era didn’t make it to the first game of the Scott Frost era.
Nebraska linebacker Avery Roberts is leaving the program and has received his scholarship release, a NU spokesman confirmed Wednesday. A consensus four-star recruit in the 2017 class, Roberts was the fifth-highest recruit, according to 247Sports Composite, in Riley’s three classes. Roberts played as a true freshman on special teams, finishing with four tackles.
He fell out of favor with new inside linebackers coach Barrett Ruud, who last spring criticized Roberts’ overall conditioning. Roberts was the No. 5 inside linebacker in spring and most likely slipped to No. 6 after Ruud moved Collin Miller to inside linebacker from outside linebacker before training camp.
Miller’s move has been a success, Ruud said Monday. He’ll play at inside linebacker alongside Will Honas and behind Dedrick Young and Mohamed Barry. Walk-on Jacob Weinmaster also is in the mix.
Roberts, meanwhile, becomes the third inside linebacker to leave NU in the last several months, joining Andrew Ward and Willie Hampton, both of whom were recruited by former linebackers coach Trent Bray. Roberts didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from The World-Herald.
Ruud, the school record holder for career tackles, is overhauling the position, having secured commits from Jackson Hannah and Nick Henrich for the 2019 class. Henrich, from Omaha Burke, is the highest-rated commit in the 2019 class.
Because Roberts entered fall camp and received scholarship money, he’ll count against NU’s 85-man limit through December. So will cornerback Will Jackson, who left the program Monday unannounced after it became clear that he wouldn’t be in the top six at cornerback.