Hot Reads: The Ups and Downs of Nebraska's Roster Size
Photo Credit: Aaron Babcock

Hot Reads: The Ups and Downs of Nebraska’s Roster Size

May 09, 2019

Nebraska's football roster is down to 149. For now. updated its football roster this week. That update included the scholarship-player attrition we already knew about. Punter Caleb Lightbourn, linebackers Breon Dixon and Quayshon Alexander, and defensive back Cam'ron Jones are now off the roster.

But the update also included the departure of seven walk-ons: wide receiver Chad Alioth (Omaha), wide receiver Justin Holm (Lincoln), linebackers Spencer and Grant Jordan (Omaha), kicker Noah McCashland (Lincoln), wide receiver Brandon Robbins (Bellevue) and wide receiver Andrew Thurman (Stillwell, Kan.).

That brings the Huskers' roster down from a post-spring game high of 160, but 149 is still plenty big relative to the rest of the Big Ten. Nebraska's 2018 roster listed 141 players, the biggest in the Big Ten by two. Michigan listed 139 players last fall followed by Indiana and Penn State at 120 each. Illinois had the smallest 2018 roster at 103 players followed by Michigan State at 104.

We'll see if Nebraska can get back up over the 150 mark. Junior college transfer defensive lineman Jahkeem Green is not yet listed on the current roster, for example, and any transfers in or additional walk-ons could get the roster to the sweet spot Scott Frost seems to be looking for.

"We're kind of limited to between 150 and 160 players on our football team right now," he said during a radio appearance after the spring game, "but sooner or later those spots are going to have to be earned."

You could argue that's already starting to be the case given the amount of roster churn the Huskers have seen in the past two years, but Frost said it might be another "year or two" before the full benefit of a robust walk-on program, which allows for a large roster, are fully seen in Lincoln.

The last time Nebraska's end-of-season roster hit 150 was in 2010, Bo Pelini's third season. At the time that was the highest total since Frank Solich listed 161 on his 2003 roster.

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