Nebraska football has been handing out the famous "Blackshirts" to its starting defensive players since the 1960s. The tradition has lasted through a number of head coaches.
Head coach Scott Frost has brought something special to the role, because he is a former Husker himself. He's helped reconnect the program, which has floundered a bit in recent years, to its rich history from his time as a player in Lincoln.
This year, his second with the program, he's doing something special around the Blackshirt tradition. He's connecting it back to other former Husker greats.
On Monday, he had a number of those players from yesteryear come and present the Blackshirts to the 2019 starting defense.
Former Husker defenders, including Jay Foreman, Jason Peter, Steve Warren and others came to Memorial Stadium and presented the jerseys to current Huskers.
Nebraska senior linebacker Mohamed Barry has earned the Blackshirt before, but he said receiving the Blackshirt from his position coach Barrett Ruud — himself a former Blackshirt — meant more.
“This year, we had people who actually wore the shirt and did something with it,” Barry said. “Now the shirt isn’t just a shirt. It comes to life. It’s a real thing. It’s a person who has worn it and represented and put their all into that shirt and then they’re giving it to you. He’s telling you that you have to earn it every day. So it meant a lot.”
It sounds like the ceremony had the desired effect. Jay Foreman, whose Nebraska career ended in 1998, told the team that he will one day be buried in his Blackshirt, because it is that special to him.
In total, 14 different 2019 Huskers have received their Blackshirts: Mohamed Barry, Dicaprio Bootle, Alex Davis, Darrion Daniels, Carlos Davis, Khalil Davis, Marquel Dismuke, Will Honas, Lamar Jackson, Collin Miller, Ben Stille, Caleb Tannor, Cam Taylor and Deontai Williams.
Nebraska opens the season with South Alabama at home on Saturday, Aug. 31.