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Nebraska Cornhuskers running back Jaquez Yant runs with the ball during practice
Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Huskers Place Second-Year Running Back Jaquez Yant on Scholarship

June 01, 2021

Some good news on a Tuesday: Jaquez Yant is officially a scholarship player. The freshman running back announced the news on Twitter Tuesday afternoon.

Notice Yant thanks Travis Fisher, Nebraska’s defensive backs coach. The two have a tight relationship, and Fisher is a big reason Yant found his way to Lincoln. Both alums of the same high school in Tallahassee, Florida, Fisher pursued Yant when the power back’s recruitment slowed. Academics were a question. Yant had options, but schools were wary he might not qualify. Nebraska secured a walk-on pledge from him and it’s been a harmonious relationship ever since.

“Jaquez had a long road in high school academically,” Fisher said in the spring. “He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do since he’s been here. And right now, I’m so proud of him because his grades are right. He has very good grades right now. Everybody back home is proud of him.

“And then, he’s making his name here. He’s a problem (for the defense), I’ll tell you that.”

Yant burst onto radars this past spring with consistent praise from Husker coaches. He had nine carries for 63 yards and a touchdown in the spring game as well.

“He’s a big running back, and when he hits the ball downfield, he plays with a lot of passion and force,” said tight ends coach Sean Beckton. “He’s just got to be more consistent with what he’s doing offensively. But he’s been a big surprise for our entire offensive staff, how well he’s running the football. Really, all the running backs have been doing a great job. But he’s really stood out, as a walk-on, being a guy who might be able to give us some snaps this year.”

Not a walk-on anymore.

That brings the running back room back up to six scholarship runners. After spring ball ended, redshirt freshman Ronald Thompkins put his name in the transfer portal, somewhat thinning a crowded room but not necessarily providing any more clarity. Yant is one of five running backs still listed as freshmen by eligibility in the room. Nebraska said he was a walk-on this spring only in technical terms, but practically they viewed him as a legitimate contender for winning the starting tailback job. His position coach, Ryan Held, said toward the end of spring ball he hopes to see Yant get leaner this summer to solidify his spot.

Placing Yant on scholarship also brings Nebraska up to a total of 85 scholarship players for the season. Included in that number are five super-senior players who don’t count toward the max total allowed. In counting back with the 2021 class, NU has two scholarships still to offer transfers who might join the team this summer, if it so chooses.

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