LINCOLN, Neb. — From the beginning, defensive coordinator Mark Banker liked Nate Gerry.
From the first time he saw him, in fact.
When Banker and the rest of the new coaching staff visited Lincoln before Nebraska’s 2014 Holiday Bowl against USC, Gerry was the one who stood out to the soon-to-be defensive coordinator.
“One of the first thoughts that came across my mind was, ‘boy, this is going to be fun,'” Banker said.
Since that day, the safety and the defensive coordinator have grown close, and Gerry’s only continued to further impress Banker.
Gerry, a senior, will play his final game in Memorial Stadium on Saturday as his decorated four-year career winds down. He has started every game since his sophomore year and was recently invited to the Reese’s Senior Bowl. Gerry played in all 13 games as a freshman, but was primarily a linebacker. He moved to the safety position in 2014, the year before Banker came along. This season, he made Pro Football Focus’ midseason All-American list at the safety position.
He’s currently 19th in the Big Ten in tackles, eighth in passes defended and seventh in interceptions.
Banker said he’s enjoyed coaching Gerry, and most of all enjoyed watching him grow.
“I’ve enjoyed the most over the last, especially year, is just watching his growth within the system,” Banker said Tuesday at practice. “He’s positioned himself right now pretty handsomely where he is within the team in tackles, interceptions, where he is historically in the program, captain, Bednarik Award semifinalist, just received his Senior Bowl invite.
Gerry will enter the NFL draft after this season, but Banker said it’s now all up to Gerry to take that next step.
“I just really enjoyed watching him have success,” Banker said.
Some other notes from practice:
- Senior QB Tommy Armstrong did not practice on Tuesday because of a hamstring injury. He was in street clothes and was walking around.
- Senior C Dylan Utter was in a walking boot and did not practice, as well. He’s been dealing with an ankle injury the past few weeks.
- Sophomore LB Dedrick Young was also out of practice with a lower leg injury.