Wide receiver Zavier Betts #15 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers catches the ball in front of defensive back
Photo Credit: Eric Francis

Huskers Counting on Growth From Wideouts After Strong Winter Conditioning

March 30, 2021

Getting the wide receivers settled at Nebraska has been a roller coaster ride for a couple seasons now. The best year for the group under coach Scott Frost was his first season with the Huskers. Stanley Morgan and JD Spielman led the charge. Since then, there has been a lot of promise but things haven’t quite jelled.

To the coaching staff’s credit, it has continued to address the issue. They have brought in a lot of players through recruiting and the transfer portal. While adding new players, the team has also gotten bigger at the position on the fly. The 2020 recruiting class saw Omar Manning, Alante Brown, Zavier Betts and Will Nixon added to the mix. Oliver Martin was added as a walk-on. Wyatt Liewer and Levi Falck also emerged.

The class of 2021 wideouts aren’t in Lincoln for spring ball. Kamonté Grimes, Shawn Hardy and Latrell Neville are on the way. Montana transfer Samori Touré is in Lincoln though. He and last year’s big addition, Manning, are two players that Frost thinks could do big things for the Huskers.

“We are going to start him [Touré] inside to compete with a couple other guys,” Frost said. “I think he’s going to give us someone that can get down the field in the slot. He can also be a bigger body that can help us block and catch crossing routes. He’ll be a little bigger target for us in the slot.

“I’ve been impressed with Omar’s progress on top of a lot of other guys. We just need Omar to be there every day and his talent will take care of the rest. I’m excited for Levi Falck, Oliver Martin and Zavier Betts. Will Nixon is back. Wyatt Liewer is doing some really good things. There are bunch of guys at that position that I’m excited to see compete at that position. The talent is really good at that position and I’m excited to see those guys compete.”

The coaching staff has been impressed with Toure’s approach coming to Lincoln. He brings a much-needed veteran presence to the wide receiver room. The room is full of potential but is still inexperienced. The Huskers experienced some growing pains last year. Young players at the position had to learn on the fly. Offensive coordinator Matt Lubick explained how growth could be accelerated.

“First off we played a lot of young guys last year that it was their first year playing college football,” Lubick said. “Part of being able to execute is knowing your assignment. It gives you confidence and lets you play faster. The other part is getting developed better physically. We have a great weight and nutrition staff. Guys are getting more confident in their athletic abilities.”

A strong offseason of getting in better condition will help Lubick’s group. So will getting a full spring to get a lot of reps. Jelling with quarterback Adrian Martinez will be a bonus as well this spring. By the end of spring football, we could be talking about how this group is rounding into form.

That would be a welcome sight for everyone after a couple seasons of unknowns at the position.

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