This is a series taking a look at each position on Nebraska’s 2023 roster. It’s a brief glimpse on the most intriguing aspects of each position. For full previews on every position, each opponent, feature stories and various important tidbits concerning Nebraska’s 2023 season, check out the Hail Varsity annual yearbook. This year’s edition is 162 pages filled with all you need to know to get the season started. You can read it here by purchase.
Nebraska’s 2023 receiver group could be divided into two categories: veteran pass catchers and potential athletic gamebreakers. The Husker coaching staff will need contributions from both in order to move the needle this season.
Billy Kemp IV is a new face in the receivers group. He finished among the top receivers in Virginia history, ranking in the top 10 catches in school history across five seasons there. He was granted an extra year of eligibility if he transferred, which he did to rebound from an injury-riddled 2022. Kemp is durable despite his 5-foot-9 frame and can line up at most receiver positions. He’s elusive and moves well on the outside. His sure-handed toughness makes him a fit in the slot as well. Wide receiver coach Garret McGuire said his work ethic is contagious in the room. Fans caught a glimpse of his potential in the Red-White Game.
McGuire also complimented Marcus Washington, who returns this fall with the chance to breakout. Washington was a reliable receiver last season but was regularly overshadowed by Trey Palmer’s historic season. That leaves the Texas transfer a chance to elevate himself in his final year of college ball. Coaches admire him and his reliability is an asset for whoever is playing quarterback. Transfer arrival Joshua Fleeks is at Nebraska for his final year of eligibility as well. Fleeks also brings a veteran set of hands with familiarity for Matt Rhule’s leadership. Rhule recruited Fleeks to Baylor and the Dallas native played high school ball with his position coach.
Then there’s the curious cases of Isaiah Garcia-Castaneda and Zavier Betts. Garcia-Castaneda is proving himself in this receiver group after entering the transfer portal midway through last season. His output dropped significantly last season after the coaching change. Betts effectively redshirted last season after leaving the program in March 2022. He’s now back and eligible to play after taking 21 hours of courses in the spring semester. He’s also fast as ever and coaches admire his athletic capabilities.
Alex Bullock, Shawn Hardy II, Elliott Brown, Taveon Thompson, Roman Mangini, Barron Miles Jr., Ty Hahn and Cooper Hausmann provide depth with different skillsets. Each gained different levels of praise from offensive coaches during the season. Multiple are mentioned at least once in “The Ten” this summer.
That leaves some young playmakers. McGuire and Rhule have both said they count on some of those guys to step up. Offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield would like to see them develop fast. Lincoln native Malachi Coleman is at the top of the list. Coleman watched every spring practice and is already a frontrunner in receiver meetings. His roommate, Jaidyn Doss, could also fight for snaps. Doss is a longtime commit to Nebraska and he is working with Coleman on the jugs machine to stay in catching form ahead of the fall. Nashville native Demetrius Bell could close the gap with a strong fall camp. Texas native Jeremiah Charles brings incredible athleticism to the room, as does Omaha Westside receiver Jaylen Lloyd. Native Texan Brice Turner adds that track speed to the receiver room.
Those young receivers, each with their own athletic strengths, can carve their own place in the 2023 squad if they can adjust to the speed of the college game.