Who knew that over the past two years Nebraska's Memorial Stadium would play host to two high-flying quarterbacks. Talking very literally here. Former Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen, who was 16-for-32 with five interceptions in Lincoln in 2016, led all quarterbacks at the NFL Combine with a 33.5-inch vertical.
Tanner Lee, who threw 12 of his 16 interceptions as a Husker in home games, was second in the vertical jump at 32 inches. Had we only known at the time, we could've had those guys engage in a dunk contest at halftime of that Wyoming-Nebraska game. Allen would've had a slight edge in vertical, but my money would've been on Lee. He had to sit out that season, so his legs would've been fresh.
Lee also ranked second (to Allen again) in the broad jump. His 40 time was among the slowest at the combine, but that's fine. If a team is picking Lee to outrun people it has bigger problems. Overall, it was a pretty good showing for Lee. The NFL Network analysts praised his throwing ability (no surprise) and I can only assume he handled himself well in interviews (as he did during all of the 2017 season).
Of course, this isn't surprising for Lee. He has always looked the best in workouts. Steve Sipple of the Lincoln Journal Star summed it up well in his latest column:
. . . It was all very predictable because Lee throws gorgeous spirals, has a perfect release, and there was no pass rush. No danger of getting sacked. No wind. No moisture. No need to make difficult decisions in a flash. Just put on your gym shorts — no pads needed — and let 'er rip, son.
The game numbers, however, present a more complicated story. It's going to be fascinating to watch what happens with Lee over the next month.
The only other Husker to workout over the weekend was offensive lineman Nick Gates. (Drew Brown was there, but, like most specialist, didn't workout.) Minus the three-cone drill (ninth), Gates ranked close to the bottom of the group in most drills. While I can certainly understand not wanting to go through another coaching change – Gates signed to play for Bo Pelini at Nebraska – it's also fair to ask if he wouldn't have been better off spending a year in the Huskers' new strength and conditioning program.
You know, the UCF one. The one that produced perhaps the biggest star of the weekend, linebacker Shaquem Griffin. He ran a 4.38 40, not just the fastest time among linebackers at this combine but all combines since 2003. It was also the third-fastest among all positions going into today (which doesn't yet include defensive backs). Griffin may have made a bigger splash, however, with his bench press, video of which went a little bit viral.
— NFL (@NFL) March 3, 2018
Huskers Chris Jones and Joshua Kalu will work out today in Indianapolis.
The Grab Bag
- ESPN's Joe Lunardi has Nebraska (and Penn State) among the "next four out" in his latest bracket projection.
- The NCAA is considering a rule change that would allow kick returners to fair catch a kickoff inside the 25-yard line and treat it as a touchback.
- For the eight-man football fans, a good read on Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch.
- ICYMI: Cody Nagle recaps Day 2 at the Big Ten Championships for Nebraska wrestling, and Jacob Padilla has an excellent column looking back at Nebraska basketball's loss to Michigan.
Today's Song of Today
Brandon is the Managing Editor for Hail Varsity and has covered Nebraska athletics for the magazine and web since 2012, Hail Varsity’s first season on the scene. His sports writing has also been featured by Fox Sports, The Guardian and CBS Sports.