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Spring football practice, 3.16.2017

Junior linebacker Luke Gifford is among 16 Blackshirts on the Nebraska defense.

LINCOLN — Mike Cavanaugh coaches on the other side of the ball.

But even he gets just as excited as anyone when the Blackshirts are unveiled.

"It kind of gives you goosebumps," the Nebraska offensive line coach said following Monday's practice.

It was a goosebump kind of day for many in the Husker locker room.

Sixteen football players found black practice jerseys when they arrived at their lockers before Monday's practice.

Defensive linemen: Freedom Akinmodalun, Carlos Davis, Khalil Davis and Mick Stoltenberg.

Linebackers: Mohamed Barry, Alex Davis, Luke Gifford, Marcus Newby, Chris Weber and Dedrick Young.

Defensive backs: Dicaprio Bootle, Lamar Jackson, Joshua Kalu, Eric Lee, Antonio Reed and Aaron Williams.

Those 16 Huskers make up most of the team's two-deep. Among those donning the prestigious black jerseys was Lincoln Southeast graduate Luke Gifford.

He arrived at his locker, and something wasn't right.

"Am I missing something?" the junior linebacker asked. Gifford's Blackshirt was in the locker of Devine Ozigbo.

Gifford is one of three Nebraska natives to receive a Blackshirt, joining Gretna graduate Mick Stoltenberg and Elkhorn graduate Chris Weber.

"It means everything to me, obviously I earned my first Blackshirt last year and it was a big deal," Stoltenberg said prior to Monday's unveiling. "It was a huge dream come true, and I’m excited to see the first-time Blackshirt guys this year, to get it and that will be a pretty cool experience for them."

Like Cavanaugh, NU wide receivers coach Keith Williams was pumped to see the jerseys.

"I’m trying to figure out a way to get something on offense, because that definitely is good to see those guys earn those black jerseys, and it lets you know that it’s almost time to play," he said.

The Blackshirt announcement stayed in line with past Mike Riley teams who received the jerseys the week of the first game.


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