Honors & Awards
» Honorable-Mention All-Big Ten (2023, Coaches, Media)
» Academic All-Big Ten (2021, 2022, 2023)
» Nebraska Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll (Fall 2020, 2021, 2022; Spring 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023)
Isaac Gifford started all 12 games in 2023 and led Nebraska with a career-high 86 tackles, becoming the first Husker defensive back to have 80 tackles in a season since Nathan Gerry in 2014. Gifford also ranked second on the team with a career-high eight pass breakups and finished with a career-high 6.5 tackles for loss and one interception. An honorable-mention All-Big Ten pick, Gifford was a big part of a Blackshirt defense that posted Nebraska's best rushing defense (92.9 yards per game), total defense (303.5 yards per game) and scoring defense (18.3 points per game) since the Huskers joined the Big Ten in 2011. NU ranked in the top 20 nationally in each of those three categories. Gifford wore the No. 2 as one one of 10 Huskers to earn a single-digit number in a team vote selecting him as one of Nebraska's "toughest" players.
At Minnesota, he recorded five tackles with a five-yard tackle for loss and one pass breakup. Gifford had eight tackles - all solo stops - at Colorado. He recorded three tackles and broke up a pass against Northern Illinois. Gifford had seven tackles, a half tackle for loss, one pass breakup and his first career interception against Louisiana Tech. He also recorded his 100th career tackle against the Bulldogs. Gifford had seven tackles against No. 2 Michigan. At Illinois, Gifford totaled eight tackles and set a career high with three pass breakups. He posted his fourth straight game with seven or more tackles against Northwestern, finishing with seven stops, including a one-yard tackle for loss. Gifford had 10 tackles against Purdue with a career-high-tying 2.0 tackles for loss and one pass breakup. He totaled five tackles at Michigan State, including a three-yard tackle for loss. Gifford made seven tackles against Maryland, including a half TFL. He totaled eight tackles at Wisconsin, his eighth game of the year with at least seven tackles. Gifford ended the season with 11 tackles against Iowa, tying his career high and marking his third career game with double-digit tackles. He also broke up a pass against the Hawkeyes.
Gifford played in all 12 games as Nebraska’s primary nickel back in 2022, making 10 total starts with eight starts at nickel and two starts at safety. Gifford ranked third on the team with 70 tackles and posted 5.0 tackles for loss, 1.0 sack and three pass breakups.
Gifford made three tackles and broke up a pass in the opener against Northwestern. He started the next week against Georgia Southern and had eight tackles with a five-yard tackle for loss that marked his first career TFL. Against Georgia Southern, Gifford earned another start and finished with a career-high 11 tackles while adding one pass breakup. He made his third straight start against No. 6 Oklahoma and recorded three tackles and his first career quarterback hurry. Against Indiana, Gifford had five tackles, including a career-high 2.0 TFLs. He posted four tackles in the win at Rutgers. Gifford led Nebraska with nine tackles at Purdue. He made six tackles against Illinois with a seven-yard sack for his first career sack. The next week he recorded three tackles and a quarterback hurry against Minnesota.
Gifford started at safety at No. 3 Michigan and finished with six tackles. He played extensively at safety again the next week against Wisconsin and recorded four tackles. Gifford made his second start at safety in the season-ending win at Iowa, leading the Huskers with eight tackles, including 1.0 TFL.
Gifford played in every game in 2021, including extensive action as Nebraska’s nickel back in the final two games of the season. Gifford has made seven tackles on the season with one pass breakup.
He recorded one tackle on punt coverage at Illinois and had a tackle on defense against Northwestern. Gifford also had a tackle on punt coverage against No. 9 Michigan that resulted in a minus-five-yard return. He added another tackle on punt coverage against Purdue. Gifford made a career-high three tackles - all solo stops - at No. 19 Wisconsin while filling in as Nebraska’s nickel back for the injured JoJo Domann. He again played the nickel role in the season finale against No. 17 Iowa, where he broke up the first pass of his career on a 3rd-down play in Nebraska territory that forced the Hawkeyes to settle for a field goal.
2020 (Covid Season)
Gifford played in every game in his first season on campus. A key member of Nebraska’s special teams coverage units, Gifford totaled four tackles. He made his first career tackle on kickoff coverage against Illinois. Gifford also had tackles on kickoff coverage against Iowa, Minnesota and Rutgers.
Before Nebraska (Lincoln Southeast HS)
Gifford had a standout career as a versatile playmaker at Lincoln Southeast High School. As a senior, Gifford earned All-Nebraska honors from the Omaha World-Herald as he tallied 71 tackles, six pass breakups and an interception. His play helped Southeast to a 9-2 record and a trip to the Class A quarterfinals. On offense, Gifford rushed for 298 yards and five touchdowns and caught five passes. As a junior, Gifford totaled 71 tackles, four pass breakups and an interception. He earned honorable-mention all-state recognition despite missing time due to injury. Gifford made 65 tackles for the Knights as a sophomore. Gifford turned down a scholarship offer from Air Force and numerous FCS offers. He was ranked as the No. 3 prospect in Nebraska by Rivals.
Isaac was born on April 9, 2001, and he is the son of Sam and Shannon Gifford. He is majoring in management. Gifford has volunteered his time with the Nebraska Football Road Race, local Thanksgiving hospital visits and the Huskers’ Day of Service.
Isaac is the younger brother of Luke Gifford, a former Husker linebacker (2014-18) and team captain (2018) who is a current member of the Tennessee Titans, after spending his first four years in the NFL with Dallas.