Sadly, the 2018 football season has come to an end for Nebraska. With the school semester coming to a close soon and National Signing Day just around the corner, this is a perfect time to take stock of what the Nebraska roster looks like at this stage.
Guy Thomas officially became the first postseason departure on Thursday, and that leaves Nebraska at 143 players on the roster for next year, 81 on scholarship and 62 walk-ons.
Let’s break down the offenisve side of the ball.
Scholarship (3): Noah Vedral (rSO), Adrian Martinez (SO), Luke McCaffrey (FR)
Walk-On (2): Adrew Bunch (JR), Matt Masker (rFR)
It seems like this group is about as set as one can be. I don’t see anyone in Mario Verduzco’s room looking elsewhere any time soon, and while some have wondered whether or not Luke McCaffrey would stick at quarterback as opposed to moving to wide receiver so he could get on the field, the Huskers recruited him as a quarterback and that is where he will begin his career.
Running Back (11)
Scholarship (8): Wyatt Mazour (SR), Dedrick Mills (JR), Jaylin Bradley (rSO), Maurice Washington (SO), Miles Jones (rFR), Rahmir Johnson (FR), Ronald Thompkins (FR), Wandale Robinson (FR)
Walk-On (3): Austin Hemphill (SR), Connor Ruth (rFR), Brody Belt (rFR)
Wyatt Mazour, a former walk-on out of Albion, Nebraska, was placed on scholarship prior to the season. It’s uncertain whether or not he will stay on scholarship but for the time being I am going to include him with this group as he worked his way onto the depth chart playing the hybrid Duck-R spot.
The biggest question mark for this group is Jaylin Bradley, the sophomore out of Bellevue West who redshirted this season and wasn’t even suiting up on game day until the end of the season.
I added Wandale Robinson after his flip here in the running back position simply because that’s more what he played in high school and I anticipate him playing int he Duck-R spot primarily initially. It will be interesting to see how many snaps he spends in the backfield compared to split out at receiver.
Wide Receiver (17)
Scholarship (7): Mike Williams (SR), Jaron Woodyard (SR), JD Spielman (JR), Jaevon McQuitty (SO), Andre Hunt (rFR), Darien Chase (FR), Jamie Nance (FR)
Walk-On (10): Todd Honas (JR), Ty Chaffin (JR), Chad Alioth Jr. (SO), Christian Banker (SO), Brandon Robbins (SO), Andrew Thurman (SO), Kade Warner (SO), Justin Holm (rFR), Bennett Folkers (rFR), Wyatt Liewer (rFR)
Jaevon McQuitty is the last remaining 4-star recruit from the 2017 class, though he didn’t see the field outside of a few garbage time situations as a redshirt freshman. McQuitty has already experienced multiple injuries that have kept him off the field and made the start of his college career difficult. Does he still see a future for himself in Lincoln? Is a fully healthy offseason what he needs to insert himself into the mix at wideout? We shall see.
It’s also worth monitoring JD Spielman this offseason. While I personally don’t see him leaving, it would make sense for him to do his due diligence when it comes to the NFL considering he is draft eligible as a redshirt sophomore.
Tight End (8)
Scholarship (5): Jack Stoll (JR), Austin Allen (SO), Kurt Rafdal (SO), Katerian Legrone (rFR), Chris Hickman (FR)
Walk-On (3): Keaton Henry (JR), Bryson Krull (rFR), Austin Jablonski (FR)
Cam Jurgens changed positions, Justin McGriff appears to have flipped to the other side of the ball instead of moving to tight end and Chris Hickman will enroll early. Other than that, Sean Beckton appears to be bringing back more or less his whole group from last season. Experience is nice, but having nothing but youth in your room also means continuity moving forward in most situations.
Offensive Line (25)
Scholarship Interior OL (6): Boe Wilson (JR), John Raridon (JR), Desmond Bland (JR), Broc Bando (SO), Will Farniok (rFR), Cam Jurgens (rFR)
Walk-On Interior OL (10): Nick Virka (SR), Brian Perez (JR), Josh Wegener (JR), Trent Hixson (SO), Hunter Miller (SO), AJ Forbes (rFR), Mitchell Balenger (rFR), Collin Shefke (rFR), Riley Moses (FR), Matt Huser (FR), Noah Stafursky (FR)
Scholarship Tackles (8): Christian Gaylord (SR), Brenden Jaimes (JR), Matt Farniok (JR), Matt Sichterman (SO), Bryce Benhart (FR), Matthew Anderson (FR), Michael Lynn (FR), Jimmy Fritzsche (FR)
As Greg Smith has made note of, a couple of the incoming recruits are not quite locked up yet, though the coaching staff is monitoring things closely. As for departures from the current group, as a fifth year senior who has never seen the field outside of special teams and garbage time, Christian Gaylord would likely be eligible to leave as a grad transfer if he was interested in pursuing playing time elsewhere.
Seniors: 6 (4 scholarship, 2 walk-on)
Juniors: 14 (8 scholarship, 6 walk-on)
Sophomores: 16 (9 scholarship, 7 walk-on)
Redshirt Freshmen: 15 (5 scholarship, 10 walk-on)
True Freshmen: 15 (11 scholarship, 4 walk-on)
Total: 66 (37 scholarship, 29 walk-on)
Jacob is in his third year with Hail Varsity covering Husker athletics. He has also written extensively for SB Nation’s Bright Side of the Sun and The Creightonian. His love of basketball can best be described as an obsession and if you need to find him, he’s probably in a gym somewhere watching, coaching or playing hoops.