After over a month of anxious waiting and speculation from the fan base, Nebraska got a commitment from a transfer addition to its quarterback room in Casey Thompson, a former Texas Longhorn.
— Casey Thompson (@LilThurm) January 7, 2022
Thompson, a 6-foot-1, 200-pounder who entered his name in the transfer portal on Dec. 19, comes to Lincoln after spending four seasons at Texas, where he completed 185-of-290 passing attempts for 2,422 yards and 30 touchdowns against just nine interceptions. The Oklahoma City native also rushed for 210 yards and five scores in his Longhorn career. He’ll have two years of eligibility remaining.
Thompson, who unofficially visited Lincoln himself with family on Wednesday according to a source, can be considered a veteran pickup for the Huskers, who also have an offer out to a younger, more inexperienced quarterback in Chubba Purdy. Purdy, the younger brother of longtime Iowa State starting quarterback Brock Purdy, entered his name in the transfer portal on Nov. 3 after spending two seasons at Florida State. Purdy is scheduled for an official visit to Lincoln on Jan. 14, the first day after the dead period ends. The former 4-star prospect according to the 247Sports Composite would have four years of eligibility left.
Thompson would join a Husker quarterback room that saw four-year starter and career total yards leader, Adrian Martinez, enter the portal himself and later commit to Kansas State. Nebraska currently has three scholarship quarterbacks, including third-year sophomore Logan Smothers, second-year redshirt freshman Heinrich Haarberg and true freshman Richard Torres, the lone quarterback recruit in the 2022 class.
Of that group, Smothers is the only one to play in a college football game and has just one start under his belt—last season’s finale against Iowa. That day, Smothers played three quarters of good football before freshman mistakes and special teams blunders made an appearance, helping Iowa earn a come-from-behind win.
Who plays quarterback for the new Mark Whipple-Scott Frost offense is going to need to process information quickly, which is the No. 1 trait Frost looks for in a quarterback.
“It doesn’t matter if you can throw and run as well as anybody in the country,” Frost said on ‘Sports Nightly’ on Dec. 16. “If you can’t see the game and be one step ahead and be making quick and correct decisions, then all the talent in the world doesn’t matter.”
Thompson’s commitment to Frost and Nebraska is the latest quarterback news to come from a wild offseason full of transfer-portal action. It comes days following star freshman Caleb Williams’ announcement that he entered his name in the portal. That, of course, stems from the monumental move that former Sooners’ head coach Lincoln Riley made to accept the head coaching job of the Southern California Trojans not even 24 hours after losing to Oklahoma State in the regular-season finale.
After not seeing the field at all in his freshman season in 2018, Thompson mostly played as a backup in 2019 and 2020 behind longtime starter Sam Ehlinger. In the 2020 Valero Alamo Bowl against Colorado, Thompson helped Texas blow out the Buffaloes, 55-23, after Ehlinger went down with an injury. That night, Thompson went 8-of-10 for 170 yards and four touchdown passes.
Thompson originally shared the starting duties with second-year freshman Hudson Card to begin the 2021 season, head coach Steve Sarkisian’s first in Austin. Thompson gained control of the starting job following the Longhorns’ loss to Arkansas, a game in which Card started and struggled. Thompson went on to complete 63% (165-of-261) of his passes for 2,113 yards and 24 touchdowns with nine picks in 2021. He also rushed for 157 yards and four scores.
Thompson helped Texas rank second in the Big 12 and 18th in the nation in scoring offense at 35.3 points per game in 2021. The Longhorns’ defense struggled, however, giving up an average of 31.1 points, eighth in the conference and 99th nationally. That led to many shootouts for Thompson and the offense.
In the Red River Rivalry against Oklahoma, a wild shootout in which Texas lost 55-48, Thompson went 20-of-34 for 388 yards and five touchdowns without an interception. In a stunning overtime loss to Kansas, in which the Longhorn defense gave up 57 points, Thompson completed 30-of-43 attempts for 358 yards and six touchdowns with one pick.
Thomson is the son of former Sooner quarterback Charles Thompson, who, as a redshirt freshman, quarterbacked Barry Switzer’s then-No. 2 Oklahoma to a win over Tom Osborne’s then-No.1 Nebraska in what was dubbed the “Game of the Century II” in 1987.