With Ryker Fyfe and Tommy Armstrong Jr. both exhausting their eligibility following the Music City Bowl, it only seemed logical that Nebraska would find a scholarship and a walk-on quarterback for the 2017 class. This view was confirmed by offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf following Tuesday’s practice.
Who should the Cornhuskers look at to fill that final spot? I’ve compiled a list of who Nebraska should look at for the 2017 class.
Tim Tawa (West Linn, Oregon)
Langsdorf can tap back into his Oregon roots with Tim Tawa, arguably the top overall athlete in the state of Oregon. Tawa is a three sport star at West Linn High School, which includes being apart of three state basketball championship teams and the Oregon Class 6A football championship.
Tawa was fantastic at quarterback this fall, completing 69.1 percent of his passes for 3,994 passing yards, 55 touchdowns and just one interception. Tawa currently holds no FBS offers, likely due to his less than ideal frame at 5-11 and 180 pounds but Nebraska should definitely take a look at him.
As quarterback, Tawa has thrown 11,357 yards and 143 touchdowns with just 10 interceptions during his three years as a starter. For comparison sake, Tristan Gebbia has thrown for 13,109 yards and 141 touchdowns with 31 interceptions during his three years as a starter.
Noah Vedral (Wahoo, Nebraska)
Of all the Husker legacies in the 2017 class, none had quite the buzz as Noah Vedral. First, both Vedral’s father and uncles played for Nebraska in the mid-1990s. Beyond that, Vedral is coming off a stellar senior season in which he led Bishop Neumann to an 11-2 record and a runner-up finish in the Class C1 football championship.
Vedral is currently committed to Central Florida but the Knights have three quarterback commits in the 2017 class, with Darriel Mack appearing to be the chosen quarterback of the future. If Vedral and the Knights do part ways, the Huskers could land a steal for their walk-on class.
Braden Wright (Elkhorn, Nebraska)
It always helps a team when you bring in players that are consistent winners and it is hard to find a better example of than Elkhorn South’s Braden Wright. Wright has spent two seasons as the starting quarterback for Elkhorn South and in that time he has never lost a game, going 26-0 as a starter and winning two Class B state football titles.
Wright’s stats don’t necessarily jump off the page — 3,162 passing yards, 32 TDs and 9 INTs over two seasons — but he has a solid frame for a quarterback coach to work with at 6-2 and 185 pounds. Wright also has solid athleticism from his quarterback position, as he has rushed for 1,556 yards and 15 touchdowns over the past two seasons. Wright does not currently hold any FBS or FCS offers.
Cole Smith (Knoxville, Tennessee)
Nebraska may already be working on this one, as Cole Smith unofficially visited Nebraska for one of the Huskers’ junior days this past summer. Smith, a 6-1, 185-pound prospect out of Knoxville, is coming off a senior season in which he led the Christian Academy of Knoxville to a 9-3 record and the second round of the Tennessee Class 3A playoffs.
Smith has spent four seasons as the starting quarterback for the Warriors, where he threw for 10,578 yards and 88 touchdowns with 37 interceptions during that time period to help lead the Warriors to a 33-18 record and four playoff appearances. Smith does not currently hold any FBS or FCS offers.
Richard Wagner (Rancho Santa Margarita, California)
Walk-on quarterbacks typically won’t get a chance to compete for a starting job until their third or fourth year on campus, meaning coaches can take risks with talented but raw projects as walk-ons. Wagner, a product of California power Santa Margarita Catholic High School, would fit this description.
Wagner has a tremendous frame at 6-5 and 210 pounds, but he has only gotten to start one season at the school due to playing behind star prep quarterback K.J. Costello for three seasons. Wagner was impressive in his one season as a starter, completing 64 percent of his passes for 2,156 yards and 13 touchdowns along with six interceptions.
Wagner definitely has some rough patches in his game that he would need to smooth out, but his frame and arm strength may be too tantalizing for Langsdorf to pass up.