Photo Credit: John Peterson

Nebraska Recruiting: One Less Option at Running Back for Huskers Creates Good Pressure

May 19, 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.


There is one less option in the running back room this summer for Nebraska.

That’s what happened when Georgia native Ronald Thompkins announced his decision to enter the transfer portal on Wednesday. Thompkins had fallen in the pecking order of running backs at Nebraska heading into a critical summer for the position. At one point last season he was the team’s No. 2 running back.

Things change quickly in college football though. The room is wide open following the departure of Dedrick Mills. Even though the starting role is up for grabs, the position is very crowded. Gabe Ervin, Marvin Scott, Sevion Morrison, Markese Stepp, Jaquez Yant and Rahmir Johnson are all still in Lincoln. They all know that running backs coach Ryan Held is looking for someone to step up over the summer.

“But you know, Yant needs to lean up. Sevion [Morrison] needs to lean up. Markese Stepp needs to lean up,” Held said “They all know the game plan. I’m meeting with every one of them. That’s why this summer, what they eat on the weekends, what they eat during the week. All the running when it’s 95 degrees and hot and humid here. They better be out here sweating. Again, it’s Rocky IV this summer.”

With one less player here to compete this ramps the pressure up on everyone. The battle to just get reps this fall camp for Nebraska will be tough. There is only one ball and six running backs can’t get enough reps to get fully evaluated. The Huskers have an interesting problem on their hands. The position still has good potential depth. That’s a credit to the recruiting being done by Held and coach Scott Frost.

It’s not just the players. Coaches too. Held has to develop his guys. Each playing vying for carries is someone he recruited or got to transfer. Frost has to put them in good positions to be successful too.

Running back is always a spotlight position at Nebraska because of the great history of backs the school has produced. Going into the 2021 season it might be the biggest question mark on the team. The spotlight will be on the unit to produce.

The running backs are going to get a lot of attention this offseason. It will continue into the start of the season until we get to see consistent production from the unit. The potential is there for this storyline to be a footnote by the second month of the season. Or, Nebraska will be searching on the recruiting trail for the next potential impact players at the spot.

Recruit Watch

>> Nebraska transfer defensive back target Akayleb Evans was offered by Texas.

>> Priority athlete target Jaren Kanak continues his hot streak on the recruiting trail after Florida offered him Wednesday.

>> Husker running back target Justin Williams released his spring game highlights.

ICYMI

>> Derek Peterson and I did a video discussing whether or not a Nelson-Payne duo could cause some pain for Nebraska in 2021.

>> Outside hitter Lexi Sun will return to Nebraska for a fifth year.

>> The week’s Mind Your Own podcast is here to discuss the biggest topic of the week: breakfast sandwiches. And more, of course.

>> Nebraska baseball coach Will Bolt talked Nebraska’s upcoming four-game pod, the Big Ten schedule and more.

>> Jacob Padilla goes through savoring success after a decade of despair in Padding the Stats.

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