Honors & Awards
» Four-Time Nebraska Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll
» Sam Foltz Hero 27 Leadership Award (2018)
» Brook Berringer Citizenship Team (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018)
» Tom Osborne Citizenship Team (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018)
Senior linebacker Luke Gifford enters the 2018 season hoping to be an impact player in the Huskers’ new defensive system. The Lincoln native showed his ability in a 3-4 scheme in the first half of last season, before being sidelined by injury for the latter stages of the 2017 campaign. Gifford subsequently underwent surgery and his rehabilitation kept him out of spring practice.
Despite missing spring ball, the Nebraska coaching staff is counting on Gifford to be a key performer at outside linebacker, and also provide leadership for the Blackshirt defense. The 6-4, 245-pound Gifford played defensive back in high school, before switching to linebacker at Nebraska. His versatility allows Gifford to be a force near the line of scrimmage and also be able to drop into pass coverage. Before being injured last fall, Gifford registered six tackles for loss and an interception.
Off the field, Gifford earned his degree in management in May, and will play the 2018 season as a graduate student.
Gifford started each of the first seven games at outside linebacker before missing the final five contests due to injury. Despite the injury, Gifford put together the most productive season of his career in Nebraska’s new-look 3-4 defensive scheme. Gifford, who had at least five tackles in each of his first five games, totaled 39 tackles with five tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks, while recording his first career sack, pass breakup and interception.
Gifford earned his first career start in the season opener against Arkansas State, when he posted a career-high nine tackles, eclipsing his career total of five tackles entering the game. He added five tackles the next week at Oregon, when he broke up the first pass of his career. Gifford made eight stops against Northern Illinois, when he posted his first career sack. He added his first career interception the next week against Rutgers. Gifford recorded a TFL in each of his final five games, including recording his first career solo sack against No. 9 Wisconsin. He had three tackles, including one for a loss, against No. 9 Ohio State in what proved to be his final game of the season.
Gifford saw action in four games as a reserve linebacker, and made an assisted tackle at Ohio State.
2015 (Redshirt Freshman)
Gifford earned playing time in a young group of linebackers, before being sidelined for the second half of the year by a hip injury. Gifford played in each of the first six games and had seven tackles, including a tackle for a loss. Gifford had four tackles, including a TFL against South Alabama and added two tackles against Wisconsin.
Gifford redshirted and worked as a defensive back on the scout team.
Before Nebraska (Southeast HS)
Gifford was a standout on both sides of the ball for Coach Ryan Gottula at Lincoln Southeast. As a senior, Gifford passed for 970 yards and five touchdowns, while rushing for 742 yards and eight touchdowns to help the Knights to the Class A state playoffs. Gifford also starred in the secondary, making 50 tackles with two interceptions and five pass breakups. Gifford was a first-team All-Nebraska defensive back selection by the Omaha World-Herald and also earned Super State accolades from the Lincoln Journal Star.
Gifford helped Southeast to a 9-2 record and a trip to the state quarterfinals in his junior season. On offense, Gifford caught seven passes for 125 yards, while also starring in the secondary. He was a first-team Super State selection as a junior, and earned second-team All-Nebraska honors in 2012. Gifford was also a member of the Knights’ 2011 state championship team.
Gifford was ranked among the top 40 athlete prospects in the country by Rivals.com. Gifford was also a key member of the Knights’ basketball teams for two seasons. Gifford was the first player to commit to the Huskers’ 2014 class, and did not take any other visits. He had offers from Iowa, Ohio and Toledo among others.
The son of Sam and Shannon Gifford, Luke was born on Aug. 28, 1995. He is a four-time member of the Nebraska Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll. Gifford has earned spots on the Brook Berringer and Tom Osborne Citizenship Teams each of the past four years for his extensive community outreach work. He also won the prestigious Sam Foltz Hero 27 Award in 2018. He has volunteered his time with the Nebraska Football Road Race, School is Cool, FCA, the Lincoln Marathon and several school and hospital outreach events.