Don’t look now but 2023 quarterback recruiting is heating up for Nebraska. The Huskers have changed offensive coordinators and quarterbacks coach since the end of the 2021 season. That creates change in the pecking order of quarterbacks that the team is going after.
There is one big question among many for Nebraska: how will the offense will change with Mark Whipple running the offense? He’s also going to have different thoughts on what type of quarterback is needed to execute the offense.
There is a silver lining for Nebraska there. Quarterback recruiting was a blank slate when he took over the job. The team had only offered a pair of 2023 quarterbacks before Whipple arrived. Reese Mooney, a Louisiana signal caller, was the team’s top target at the position. Interest faded during the season and the firing of Mario Verduzco hurt the team’s chances of landing him. The potential of the offense changing was a factor that drove Mooney to commit to Vanderbilt.
Ankeny, Iowa, native JJ Kohl was the only uncommitted quarterback with a scholarship offer from Nebraska. Kohl (6-6, 225) is the top quarterback in Iowa for the 2023 class. He got on the radar for Nebraska after leading his 7-on-7 team to a championship. That happened during a camp at Memorial Stadium last summer. He does have a previous relationship with Whipple who has told Kohl that he likes him as a prospect. Kohl will be in Lincoln on Jan. 29 for Junior Day.
The Huskers didn’t have many quarterbacks offer when Whipple was hired but the team is making up for lost time. There have been a trio of new scholarship offers out from Nebraska in the last week.
Texas native Jackson Arnold is one of the best quarterbacks in the 2023 cycle. The Guyer star (6-1, 195) has 25 scholarship offers from all over the country. His list includes Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Ole Miss and now Nebraska. As a junior Arnold threw for 3,921 yards and 34 touchdowns with another 659 rushing yards and 12 scores. The Huskers will need to make up ground quickly to get in the race with the national recruit.
Another quarterback that was offered this week is the top quarterback in Kansas. Maize High School’s Avery Johnson (6-2, 170) is a 4-star prospect that the Huskers really like. Special teams coach Bill Busch visited his high school. The Huskers have Johnson high on the board. He holds 20 scholarship offers including Wisconsin, Ole Miss, Notre Dame and Minnesota. Johnson is an athletic playmaker who is an accurate passer. He’s a three-sport standout that is one to watch this cycle for Nebraska.
The Huskers have been active in Louisiana. It makes sense that a quarterback from the state has been offered recently. Rickie Collins (6-3, 185) is a 3-star quarterback from Baton Rouge. The dual-threat quarterback accounted for 1,449 yards of offense and 16 total TD’s in five games in 2021. Collins is also committed to Purdue. Boilermakers coach Jeff Brohm has a terrific track record with quarterbacks. Going after one of his makes sense. He had offers from Arkansas, LSU, TCU and Virginia Tech among others before picking Purdue.
Whipple figures to play a big role in all Nebraska’s quarterback recruiting. His work at Pitt has Kenny Pickett in line to be a potential first round draft pick. The Huskers will try hard to capitalize on that success. That and a quarterback friendly system will help sell a new batch of 2023 quarterbacks.
Greg is the Recruiting Analyst for Hail Varsity and has covered Husker athletics since 2013. He has always had a passion for sports while growing up in the Chicago area. As he got older and had to hang up his cleats and sneakers, he realized his passion for sports went beyond just watching and attending games. He has covered many events from the Rose Bowl to championship boxing matches. If he’s not talking sports, he’s hovering over his grill. He is married to an amazing woman, Kim, and they have a dog that barks when Greg yells at the TV during games.