Photo Credit: Greg Smith

Nebraska Recruiting: Booming Transfer Portal Impacting 2021 Recruits

January 06, 2021

Recruiting never stops and it’s easy to miss the top stories day-to-day. Recruiting analyst Greg Smith recaps all things Nebraska recruiting news, analysis and more so you never miss a thing.


For years people fought to let players have more freedom to move schools when they wanted to. The rules not allowing players to transfer or make it hard on them to do so were chipped away at over time. That brings us to the open world of college football player movement we see today. Nebraska like many schools around the country have seen the impact of this.

The Huskers have had players leave the program before taking a snap for the team. This year the team saw players bolt before the season was even finished. Again, this is not unique to Nebraska. Northwestern has had seven players enter the portal this year. Michigan has had 10.

A lot of times in life, new rules have unintended consequences. Because there are so many players available in the transfer portal, are they going to take spots that would have otherwise gone to 2021 recruits? I saw this exact sentiment posed on Twitter by Caleb Tannor’s high school coach Darrell Lebeaux.

Think about where we are with Nebraska recruiting right now. Generally there are more names in play to fill the remaining handful of spots in the 2021 class. We are only talking about three prospects right now. Avante Dickerson, Titus Mokiao-Atimalala and Zhen Sotelo are pretty much it. That’s because most schools save spots now for transfers. There are so many players available. Last month, Coach Scott Frost described roster management as “kind of a moving target.” He also noted that they’ll keep an eye out for a special player to add to the team at a position of need.

Those few spots used to go to late-rising seniors who took off during their senior seasons. Those days may be over under the current rules. There is another factor at play that is unique to this last year. The NCAA elected to freeze eligibility for all players in the 2020 season. It was a nice gesture due the season being unlike another other. The flip side to that is managing the roster with the potential of seniors coming back becomes tough.

It is understandable that Frost may not want to take a flyer on a late-blooming high school prospect at outside linebacker. It makes sense because he has senior JoJo Domann coming back. That just means one less opportunity for those players.

Beyond this cycle, we will see the long term-impact of all these changes on high school prospects. But right now, it looks like it is harder than ever for prospects to get looks from schools.

Recruit Watch

>> Some serious talent was getting work in at the Warren Academy including Husker signee Thomas Fidone and 2024 wide receiver Dae’vonn Hall.

>> Justice Haynes, a 2023 running back target from Georgia, has switched to the All-American Game.

ICYMI

>> Nebraska offensive tackle Matthew Anderson has entered the transfer portal after two seasons in Lincoln.

>> The Mind Your Own podcast with Erin Sorensen and Sausha Durkan is here to remind you to always be practice ready.

>> Brandon Vogel took a deep dive into Nebraska football’s 2021 attrition rate.

>> The Hail Varsity staff answered your questions in the mailbag including the biggest storylines for the 2021 football season.

>> Jacob Padilla has five thoughts on Yutan’s win at Concordia.

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