Nebraska vs. Illinois, 9.21

Nebraska outside linebackers coach and special teams coordinator Jovan Dewitt watches game action from the UCF-Pitt game with Huskers head coach Scott Frost on the video screen before the Illinois game on Sept. 21 in Champaign, Illinois.

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The coaching carousel has arrived in Lincoln.

Outside linebackers coach and special teams coordinator Jovan Dewitt is leaving Nebraska for North Carolina, UNC announced Monday morning. 

Dewitt came to NU with head coach Scott Frost after spending two seasons with him and the rest of Nebraska’s coaching staff at Central Florida. Before that, he spent two years apiece at Army and Florida Atlantic. His relationship with Frost dates all the way back to when both coached at Northern Iowa more than a decade ago.

Dewitt, of course, battled a form of throat cancer for much of the first half of 2019, a bout that saw him lose more than 100 pounds, go through extensive chemotherapy and radiation treatments and, in the process, miss most of spring ball and much of the summer.

He returned to full duties for the fall.

Dewitt’s outside linebacker group was one in transition and one that has struggled to produce over the past two seasons. The group has had bright spots — Luke Gifford turned in a standout senior season in 2018 and now is with the Dallas Cowboys — but also has been shorthanded in terms of bodies and top-end athletes.

NU’s special teams were up and down as well, and Dewitt, Frost and company had depth shortages compounded by an unforeseen spate of injuries at kicker and inconsistency at punter during the 2019 campaign.

At North Carolina, Dewitt will be reunited with co-defensive coordinator Jay Bateman, for whom he worked at Army.

"I want to first off thank (UNC head coach Mack Brown) and the Carolina administration for presenting me and my family with this opportunity," Dewitt said in a UNC news release. "I've long admired Coach Brown and what he stands for, and I'm excited to have the opportunity to work with him and the rest of the staff at UNC.

"It's clear this is a program on the rise and I'm looking forward to doing my part to continue the positive momentum created last season. We can't wait to get to Chapel Hill, meet all of the people and players, and get to work."

So the Huskers will have to fill at least one assistant coaching spot for the second consecutive offseason under Frost, which has largely become the norm in college football. Interestingly, the man who left last year, Mike Dawson, could be on Frost’s radar screen. Dawson left Lincoln to coach outside linebackers for the New York Giants, but is back on the job market after the coaching staff there was fired.

Contact the writer at pgabriel@journalstar.com or 402-473-7439. On Twitter @HuskerExtraPG.

This article originally ran on journalstar.com.

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