Five former Huskers headed to NFL combine

Five former Huskers headed to NFL combine
Both Nebraska offensive tackle Nick Gates, above, and quarterback Tanner Lee declared for the NFL draft as underclassman. They will be joined at the NFL combine by former Husker teammates Drew Brown, Chris Jones and Joshua Kalu. (World-Herald News Service)

Nebraska will send five players to the NFL combine, including two who left the Husker program after their junior seasons.

Officially receiving combine invites, according to the list posted Tuesday on NFL.com, were kicker Drew Brown, quarterback Tanner Lee, offensive lineman Nick Gates and defensive backs Chris Jones and Joshua Kalu.

NU sent just two players to Indianapolis a year ago — safety Nate Gerry and tight end Cethan Carter. Gerry then was the only Husker drafted.

Lee played just one season at Nebraska and decided just after Christmas that he would not return to the Huskers after the coaching change from Mike Riley to Scott Frost. Gates announced last month that he also would forgo a final year in Lincoln and declare for the NFL draft as an underclassman.

Brown will be one of just four kickers at the NFL combine, which runs Feb. 27 to March 5 at Lucas Oil Field in Indianapolis. Lee is among 19 quarterbacks on the invite list, and the first Husker quarterback going to Indianapolis since Sam Keller in 2008 and Zac Taylor in 2007.

The Big Ten has 50 players overall headed to the annual event that includes testing, drills and interviews for more than 300 draft prospects.

Lee passed for 3,143 yards last season, with 23 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. He also was at the Senior Bowl last month.

Brown finished his career as one of the Huskers’ best all-time kickers, holding the job for four years and making 59 of 76 career field goals. Brown was second-team All-Big Ten in 2015, when he made 21 of 27 kicks.

Gates was a three-year starter after immediately moving into the Huskers’ lineup as a redshirt freshman. He moved from right tackle to left tackle as a sophomore.

Jones and Kalu both were at all-star games last month, Kalu at the East-West Shrine Game and Jones at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.

Kalu was a four-year regular in the Husker secondary, switching from cornerback to safety as a senior. His 2015 season included 75 tackles and three interceptions.

Jones suffered a knee injury last summer and missed the first five games of his senior season. The cornerback had five interceptions and 15 pass breakups over his sophomore and junior years.

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