Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Transfer Needs as Huskers Search for Impact Players on Recruiting Trail

October 21, 2021

The strategy for Nebraska’s 2022 recruiting class is taking shape. We’ve known for a while that it would be a small class with about 14 prospects signing with the Huskers. I’ve mentioned several times that if that was the case that the Huskers would need to supplement that with transfers. Scott Frost said publicly on Wednesday that the portal will need to be a big part of the strategy.

“This recruiting class, we’re going to focus on some immediate impact guys a little more,” Frost said. “Probably not sign as many freshmen. When you’re as close as we’ve been one or two more pieces will get you over the hump. We’re probably going to look to the transfer portal a little more. Look to junior college a little more and focus on those things to make sure we replaced a couple guys we might be losing and try to add just a couple more pieces.”

Frost declined to state which positions could be areas of focus in the portal or JUCO ranks. So, let’s take a look at which positions could use help for Nebraska in 2022.

Quarterback

There are two big questions right now for next season: Frost’s job status and if Adrian Martinez will return. Martinez is a four-year starter with a chance to rewrite the record books at Nebraska. He’s been the most reliable weapon in the offense for a couple of years now. Let’s say he doesn’t come back for a fifth year. The Huskers have Logan Smothers, Heinrich Haarberg and Richard Torres as scholarship quarterbacks. Next season Frost’s seat will be very hot from the start. Could Frost afford to roll the dice with a young first-time starting quarterback? Looking for help here in the portal would make a lot of sense.

Offensive Line

There are a few reasons why Nebraska could look to the portal for offensive line help this offseason. The line has underperformed in 2021. It was expected the group would take a step forward based on the potential of the group. That hasn’t happened yet. Ideally, the Huskers could use another tackle and a guard for the 2022 season. There is an underlying storyline to watch here. Needing to protect against Teddy Prochazka’s knee injury lingering has to be a concern. That was a major injury that could take a long time to come back from. Bringing him back slowly is easier if you find a transfer tackle to hold down a spot.

Defensive Back

Defensive back has to toward the top of the list of concerns for next season. The Huskers don’t have much in the way of proven players behind the top group right now. The defense will lose both starting safeties next season. There is a strong possibility that Cam Taylor-Britt will declare for the NFL Draft. Quinton Newsome returns and Marques Buford Jr. is highly thought of in the program. Who would be the other safety next to Myles Farmer? The team has tried to bring transfers in here before but none have cracked the rotation. Another cornerback and safety could be the move here.

There are other wildcard positions. The Huskers will certainly take an impact pass rusher if possible. The biggest thing missing from the defense right now is a single player that can come off the edge and produce sacks. Nebraska faces these players weekly in the Big Ten and need to have one of its own.

Running back is in an interesting spot. Based on all the shuffling in the room this season I could see attrition there this offseason. The players in the room are young and will want to play. If the team loses a guy or two will they need another portal player there? Rahmir Johnson has emerged as a quality back. In a perfect world Nebraska would have him complimenting a back with a body suited for the rigors of the Big Ten.

Wide receiver is in a similar spot as running back. The rotation is hard to figure out. How will that impact decisions to leave or stay in the program? Nebraska might need another Samori Touré type impact player for next season. Yet, if everyone returns that can from this group it makes sense to chase players at other positions.

The Huskers are in an interesting spot when it comes to going after transfer players. There are plenty of spots where they could use help. That’s appealing for potential players but it’s great for the team. Nebraska will need to hit with several transfers this offseason.

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