Photo Credit: Eric Francis

Husker Availability Updates, the QB Taking Snaps with the Twos and other Nebraska-Illinois Observations

August 28, 2021

Nebraska football is back at Memorial Stadium––the one in Champaign, Illinois.

The Huskers and Illini will play the first college football game of the 2021 season, kicking off at 12:20 p.m. CT. A few hours before game time, Nebraska was still a touchdown favorite on the road.

Here are some updates from the Hail Varsity team in Champaign as the Huskers took the field for warmups.

–Freshman left tackle Turner Corcoran was on the field during pregame. The presumed starter entering the season, Corcoran missed some practice time in fall camp and his status for Saturday was uncertain.

–Defensive lineman Casey Rogers was not on the field for warmups. The sophomore ranked second among Nebraska’s defensive linemen last season with three tackles for loss, including a sack. Rogers was not among the 12 Huskers receiving Blackshirts on Monday.

–Wide receivers Omar Manning and Alante Brown made the trip. Brown was nursing an injury early in fall camp. Manning, one of the Huskers’ top signees in the 2020 class, hasn’t played since the Northwestern game last year, the second game of the season. He had just a handful of snaps against the Wildcats and didn’t record a catch.

–Nebraska brought it’s three scholarship quarterbacks––Adrian Martinez, Logan Smothers, Heinrich Haarberg––and walk-on Matt Masker. Based on pregame drills, it appeared Smothers, a second-year freshman, was the No. 2 quarterback behind Martinez.

–Tight end Travis Vokolek was not on the field. One of two starters at the position, Vokolek had nine catches for 91 yards in 2020. Redshirt freshman Chris Hickman was likely to be next up at tight end. The Huskers also traveled junior transfer Chancellor Brewington, listed as a TE/WR on the roster. Brewington last played at Northern Arizona in 2018, redshirting in 2019 and then missing the Lumberjacks’ 2021 spring season due to injury.

–Walk-on kicker Brendan Franke made the trip to Illinois. The Gretna native didn’t play football in high school––not the American version anyway––but kicked at Morningside College last year. He could be an option for the Huskers on kickoffs.

–The Huskers had five running backs at Illinois: Markese Stepp, Sevion Morrison and Gabe Ervin were the top three throughout camp. Rahmir Johnson and Cooper Jewett also made the trip.

–Nebraska Athletic Director Trev Alberts was on the field prior to the game. He was joined by his parents.

–Here’s one from the opposing sideline:

Hightower was the Illini’s third-leading receiver in 2020, making 11 catches for 209 yards (19 yards per catch) with three touchdowns. Coach Bret Bielema also said this week that Illinois would likely be without Marquez Beason, a converted defensive back, at wide receiver.

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