Nebraska’s running back got a little smaller on Tuesday. Hail Varsity has confirmed that junior running back Markese Stepp has entered the transfer portal.
Stepp, who transferred to Nebraska from USC for the 2021 football season, saw action in seven games with two starts last season. He rushed for 177 yards and two touchdowns on 45 carries, including a career-long 30-yard reception against Illinois.
Stepp posted the first 100-yard rushing game of his career against Fordham, rushing 18 times for 101 yards. He earned his first start against Buffalo a week later. His second start of the season came against No. 19 Wisconsin in place of injured starter Rahmir Johnson. He carried the ball nine times for 18 yards, including a one-yard touchdown run during the Huskers’ opening possession.
Hail Varsity recently looked at the ups and downs of Nebraska’s running back room ahead of the 2022 season, particularly through the lens of recruiting. There was bound to be attrition as a result, especially with the competition new running backs coach Bryan Applewhite has talked about since arriving in Lincoln.
“I want to create as much competition as possible,” Applewhite said in February. “Competition does two things for you. You get better or you quit. If there ends up being a bell cow April 9. I will set the depth chart. Then we start practice again in August, I’m cleaning it. Start all over. Kids change over the summer. The kid I may have number three, that might be his motivation. ‘I want to be number one or I thought I was number one.’ His summer might be totally geared to being the number one guy. I say this every day, the back or running backs who are going to play are the ones who are going to help Nebraska win one Friday and on Saturdays.”
Nebraska is now left with six scholarship running backs on its roster.
Erin is the Deputy Editor and Digital Marketing Strategist for Hail Varsity. She has covered Nebraska athletics since 2012, which has included stops at Bleacher Report, Cox Media Group’s Land of 10, and even Hail Varsity (previously from 2012-2017). She has also been featured on the Big Ten Network, NET’s Big Red Wrap-Up, and a varsity of radio shows nationwide. When not covering the Huskers, Erin is probably at Chipotle.