Herbie Husker at football game
Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Nebraska Recruiting: Vetting Reasons Behind Transfers Important as Huskers Rebuild Roster

March 28, 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.

As we approach the end of spring football, the buzz around the transfer portal will pick up again. The Huskers have already been aggressive in adding players looking for new homes. There are 10 transfers who have pledged to join the team this offseason. We will surely see the team look at adding additional pieces as the Huskers wrap up spring football.

Nebraska running back coach Bryan Applewhite has seen his share of transfers over his coaching career. According to Applewhite, there is a lot that goes into bringing in a player from the portal. He likes to try to find out why a player is in the portal before vetting him to join the team. The coach thinks there is a reason why 65% of the guys that are in the portal are in there. Those are the players to steer clear of.

Getting to the cause of the transfer helps him gain insight with that player. There are certain kids that are leaving schools for legitimate reasons. They were hurt by those reasons in the past because of having to sit out after transferring. A coach could be leaving the school or the university dropped their major. There are a wide range of reasons.

“Are you running from someone holding you to a higher standard that you’re not willing to live up to every day? Or do you have a legitimate reason why you are leaving? Because the portal works both ways,” Applewhite said. “Is it beneficial to college football? I don’t know. Is it hurting college football? I don’t know. Has it hurt in high school recruiting? Yeah, you can see it a little bit.”

Applewhite isn’t sure if he thinks the high number of transfers will continue or taper off. The extra COVID year of eligibility could keep affecting transfers. Things could smooth out with more distance from the 2021 recruiting class where players were committing to schools sight unseen.

There have always been transfers though even before the portal existed. They aren’t ever completely going away. That’s especially true since players can move without penalty one time.

“It could potentially [even out] and who knows what rules they might be ready to make for the portal too,” Applewhite said. “Am I by any means against the portal? No. Because there are certain kids that are leaving schools for legitimate reasons. But also, there’s people that have taken advantage of it too. Somehow some way there’s got to be a happy medium to it where you can make both sides happy with it.”

Nebraska isn’t likely to need a transfer running back this offseason. It’s informative to hear from a veteran coach on staff about the current state of the transfer market. The portal is here to stay in college football. Every coach knows that they need to adapt to the changes to help keep their team competitive.

It will be interesting to see how—if at all—the NCAA chooses to tweak rules around the por

Recruit Watch

>> Nebraska top target Malachi Coleman picked up another Pac-12 offer from Washington.

>> Nebraska 2025 target Tyson Terry hit a huge milestone in wrestling this weekend.


>> Nebraska Elite 7-on-7 is looking to build a family fueled by competition.

>> The themes of Nebraska post-practice on Monday were tackling problems and a defensive line that is a work in progress.

>> Isaac Gifford is working solely at nickel and looking to put his own stamp on the position.

>> Defensive coordinator Erik Chinander and defensive front coach Mike Dawson are looking for separation as the Huskers build defensive line depth.

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