Nebraska wide receiver Samori Touré is off to the NFL after being selected in the seventh round with the 258th pick by the Green Bay Packers.
Touré is the first Husker wide receiver selected in the NFL Draft since Kenny Bell went to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the fifth round (162nd overall pick) in 2015.
An FCS transfer from Montana, Touré led Nebraska in receiving yards (898), receptions (46) and receiving touchdowns (five) in his lone season as a Husker. His 19.5 yards per catch led the Big Ten and ranked 14th nationally. Touré’s five 100-yard receiving games in 2021 is the single-season record at Nebraska.
In 2019, Touré’s last season played due to the pandemic before he joined the Huskers, the junior posted six 100-yard games at Montana, including a 12-catch, 303-yard performance against Southeast Louisiana in the FCS Playoffs. He would end his junior season with 1,495 yards on 87 receptions, earning All-America honors.
Touré had a couple of goals in mind when he arrived in Lincoln in January of 2021.
“Why not just go out and just ball out?” he said then. “I want to be remembered as someone who came in, acted like a professional, did everything the right way, and when it came to game time, he made plays and helped the offense.”
The numbers, and Touré’s emergence as a team leader during the 2021 season, more than backed up his stated goal from the spring. The Huskers’ explosive-pass rate of 21%, measuring those completions that covered at least 15 yards, ranked 17th nationally. But there was another piece to the puzzle for Touré––improving his visibility for scouts and his draft prospects.
That’s part of reason he chose to play his last season at Nebraska.
“There’s only so much you can do playing against FCS corners,” Touré said last spring. “That was part of it. It was half wanting to improve my draft stock and half just the competitor in me wanting to go against the best of the best.”
After making three catches for 37 yards in Nebraska’s season opener at Illinois, Touré’s Husker career ramped up quickly. He had 133 yards on eight receptions in a win over Fordham and followed it up with a two-catch, two-touchdown, 136-yard day as Nebraska beat Buffalo a week later.
Touré would go on to show he could do it against Big Ten competition, too. He had another two-catch, 100-yard day in Nebraska’s 56-7 win over Northwestern, including a 70-yard reception on the game’s first play. Touré also had four catches for a season-high 150 yards and a touchdown in the 26-17 loss to Ohio State in Lincoln, and seven receptions for 113 yards on the road in a 35-28 loss to Wisconsin. The Buckeyes and Badgers were both top-25 teams at the time. Wisconsin would finish the season 17th nationally against the pass (6.5 yards per attempt), the Buckeyes 32nd (6.9).
Following his final game as a Husker, a 28-21 loss to Iowa in which the Huskers had a 21-6 lead near the end of the third quarter, Touré said he thought the program’s future was bright despite going 3-9.
“Our record obviously does not reflect that, but I think everybody knows that,” he said. “We could have won every game and should have won a lot more games. It just comes down to finishing and expecting to win. We cannot be satisfied with almost winning. It is just that last little bit that we need to work on. But I think the future is bright for sure.”
Brandon is the Managing Editor for Hail Varsity and has covered Nebraska athletics for the magazine and web since 2012, Hail Varsity’s first season on the scene. His sports writing has also been featured by Fox Sports, The Guardian and CBS Sports.