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Nebraska Recruiting: How Spring Injuries Impact the Huskers’ Portal Needs

March 01, 2022

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.

The questions never stop in the recruiting world. No matter what time of year it is, there is always something to talk about so we take reader and listener suggestions on questions. I then answer the questions in a quick video. This week’s topic is going to be a an evolving one until the season begins. The Huskers are banged up on the offensive and defensive line this spring. How does that impact the pursuit of portal players at those positions?

Spring football is back for the Huskers and because its football, injuries happen. The Huskers are entering spring ball with a higher number of key players out. There are a few ways to look at that. It does hurt the development of those players that are missing spring. That’s especially true on offense. The Huskers will be without Teddy Prochazka and Turner Corcoran on the offensive line. Each project to be starters. Running back Gabe Ervin will be out for spring after beginning the season as the starter at the position. Tight end Travis Vokolek will be back in the summer. Coach Scott Frost also mentioned a couple of defenders who will miss time.

“I did not bring my list,” Frost said on Monday. “Casey (Rogers) will probably miss most or all of the spring. Luke Reimer had another procedure and he could be back later in the spring but it will probably be summer. I hate listing them because we are missing quite a few guys that we are expecting to help us next year and a couple up front on the offensive line. Again, we miss those guys but the positive side of that is other guys getting reps that we need to develop.”

As Frost mentioned, there will be plenty of reps to go around with so many key players out. That is especially true along the offensive and defensive line. Each spot has positions up for grabs this spring. Figuring out who will hold those spots down is a priority in spring. Related to that is the need to find out where Nebraska still needs help from the transfer portal. Coming into the spring we knew that the Huskers were not done adding players to the team. We expect that a few more players will be added this summer.

Injuries make it harder to evaluate the lines fully to see how many players the program should bring in. This is a big spring for younger linemen in the program to show they are capable of handling Big Ten play. That would go a long way toward shrinking the number of transfers the coaching staff goes after this summer.

For the offensive line everything starts with finding a center. That is to be determined. Trent Hixson and Ethan Piper played there during the first spring practice. Corcoran was mentioned by Frost as someone that could slide into that role when he returns. The challenge to find the best five players is difficult. That is a top priority for offensive line coach Donovan Raiola.

Figuring out the puzzle at defensive line will also be a challenge. Ty Robinson is the only player in the room with game experience who is playing this spring. Keeping him healthy is important and so is developing the players around him. There are young players itching to show what they can do. If Nash Hutmacher, Ru’Quan Buckley, Colton Feist and others can give 20 snaps a game it would help. It’s likely that the Huskers will be adding at least one defensive lineman to the group from the portal. That wouldn’t happen until the summer.

The injuries in the offensive line room will hurt the development of the unit. The process of finding the best five is slowed by not having everyone available. The healthy defensive linemen have a great opportunity to show what they can do this spring. Fresh competition from the portal looms large in both units.

Recruit Watch

>> Nebraska 2023 wide receiver target Joshua Manning picked up another SEC offer from Vanderbilt.

>> Lewis Central 2021 athlete Jonathan Humpal was offered by Kansas on Tuesday morning.

>> The Huskers are getting a Junior Day visit from Missouri 2023 athlete Donovan McIntosh this weekend.


>> It’s clear that Bill Busch wants to see investment from the Huskers on special teams.

>> Alexis Markowski headlined the group of Huskers picking up Big Ten honors on Tuesday.

>> Mike Dawson is providing one voice for the Huskers’ defensive front after some offseason changes.

>> Jacob Padilla has five thoughts on Lincoln Northeast’s District Semifinal win over Grand Island.

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