Nebraska Recruiting: Newcomers Can Ease Husker Passing Game Woes
Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Nebraska Recruiting: Newcomers Can Ease Husker Passing Game Woes

April 19, 2020

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.

It’s not breaking news at this point to say that Nebraska’s passing game struggled to find its way during the 2019 season. It was a source of constant discussion as the season progressed, especially since there was an expectation of a Year 2 leap quarterback Adrian Martinez. He was not the only issue with the passing game last year. 

Still, there was a very interesting tweet from ESPN’s Bill Connelly about Martinez’ passing chart late last week. 

Connelly goes on to say how hesitant he is to put fixing all of Nebraska’s pass game woes on one newcomer.

“I try hard not to go down the ‘This New Signee Will Change Everything!’ road, but if big 4-star juco WR Omar Manning actually plays like a 4-star, he completely redefines the Nebraska offense,” Connelly tweeted.

Manning is the single biggest cause for optimism that Nebraska’s pass game will improve in 202. Listed at 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds with enough speed to be a threat, Manning is the type of wideout that hasn’t been seen in Lincoln for a long time. He’s a receiver that Coach Scott Frost himself hasn’t had the luxury of coaching before. Frost explained that in December during his Signing Day press conference. 

“Omar, I’m excited about,” Frost said at the time. “All year we kind of wished we were a little more productive at our outside receiver spot. That’s one place where we thought we wanted a kind of guy that could come in and potentially help us right away. There wasn’t a better guy in the country, in my opinion, for what we were looking for than him. He looks different than anybody I’ve ever coached and has tape to match. I’m really excited to get him. He’s got a little work to do yet before he gets to campus, but I think he has a chance to change our offense.”

You can see Manning getting in a little work (at a distance) in this video.

I would actually take that one step further. There are several newcomers that could impact Nebraska’s passing game this season. Former Bellevue West star Zavier Betts is a great candidate to make his presence felt as a true freshman. He brings a lot of what Manning brings to the table but is faster and has a less developed body. 

Alante Brown has been my sleeper pick in this recruiting class since Signing Day. Brown will give the Huskers another do-everything type of athlete. At St. Thomas More school in Connecticut, he caught passes, lined up in the backfield and returned kicks. He is a speedy playmaker who got a jump start on college by enrolling early. 

Then there is Marcus Fleming and Will Nixon. Those two get talked about the least of the incoming wideouts. Fleming gives the Huskers another true burner. Nixon is a player that could surprise early by being in the mix for playing time. He also fits that Duck-R role. Nixon will hit the ground running with his knowledge of the playbook when he arrives in Lincoln. 

Every new addition to the wide receiver room will get a chance to show Matt Lubick what they can do to get on the field. It’s a true wildcard on who meshes well with Martinez quickly and is ready to step up immediately. The answer might tell the story on the Huskers’ hopes for a big improvement through the air in 2020.

Recruit Watch

>> Bellevue West 2022 tight end Micah Riley continues to rack up big time offers. He recently added Michigan to his growing list. 

>> Incoming Husker defensive lineman Nash Hutmacher isn’t done collecting awards. He was named a top 100 high school athlete in the country. 

>> Oregon outside linebacker target Patrick Hisatake included Nebraska in his top 10.


>> Derek Peterson has five thoughts for you on a different but entertaining virtual spring game for Nebraska.

>> We had a photo gallery from the virtual game. If you missed it you can see the game here

>> Nebraska basketball lost a player on Saturday when Charlie Easley announced he’d be transferring. 

>> The Hail Varsity staff took a shot at projecting Nebraska depth chart in our post spring game tradition. 

>> Brandon Vogel has a unique look at a correlation between music and the Huskers’ performance. (Premium)

>> Jacob Padilla looked at some potential spring game stars had the game acutally been played.

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