Nebraska Cornhuskers offensive lineman Matt Farniok battles with Purdue Boilermakers defensive end George Karlaftis
Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Nebraska OL Matt Farniok Declares for NFL Draft, Won’t Return to Nebraska in 2021

January 11, 2021

A captain and longtime starter, Matt Farniok is officially saying goodbye to Nebraska. 

The senior right guard announced on Twitter Monday evening that he would be forgoing the extra year of eligibility granted to him by the NCAA and entering his name into the NFL Draft. 

A native of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Farniok this season became one of 13 two-time captains in Nebraska history. Teammates selected him as a captain for the 2019 campaign as well. He earned an honorable-mention All-Big Ten selection and stretched his streak of starts to 32 consecutive games, becoming just the 12th Husker offensive lineman to hit the 30 threshold.

Before this season, Farniok was a staple at right tackle, but the potential of Bryce Benhart was enticing enough that the Husker coaching staff opted to move Farniok inside to guard for the 2020 season. He also served as the team’s backup center and earned a start there against Northwestern. 

The fifth-year senior will now join fellow lineman and longtime starter at left tackle Brenden Jaimes in preparing for the 2021 NFL Draft. Jaimes declared for the draft before Nebraska’s Dec. 18 game against Rutgers, opting to sit out that game. 

In Jaimes’ place, Nebraska started then-true freshman Turner Corcoran at tackle. 

In replacing Farniok, Nebraska will have some interesting options. 

Ethan Piper, who will move into his third year in the program for the 2021 campaign seemed to find a home as the starter at left guard was the year wore on, displacing Wilson. When Farniok kicked over to center, Wilson replaced him at left guard. 

With Wilson gone now, too, Nebraska has options that offer promise but not a ton of playing experience. 

Nouredin Nouili (6-foot-4, 320 pounds), a transfer in the 2019 offseason from Colorado State is an intriguing option who the coaching staff was high on before the season began, though he sat out the year. Still, he was on the travel roster for four of the team’s five road trips and earned seven starts in eight appearances for the Rams in 2018. 

Another option could be Trent Hixson (6-4, 320), a former walk-on that earned a scholarship before the 2019 season after winning the starting left guard spot in fall camp. He only made three appearances in 2020 after starting all 12 games in 2019.

Broc Bando (6-5, 315) could provide a more developed option as he’ll be entering into his fifth year on campus with 20 appearances in 20 games the last two seasons. Matt Sichterman (6-4, 315) has done the same and will be another fifth-year guy. Guys like Alex Conn (6-6, 300), Michael Lynn (6-6, 290), and Jimmy Fritzsche (6-7, 290) are all Scott Frost signees on the offensive line who have yet to appear in a game. 

This cycle, Nebraska signed Branson Yager, Henry Lutovsky, and Teddy Prochazka on the offensive line, all of whom will enroll early. 

If Corcoran holds the left tackle spot and Piper the left guard spot, Nebraska could throw an offensive line out to open the 2021 season with five guys all sophomores or freshmen in terms of eligibility.

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