It’s no secret to the Nebraska fanbase that the Huskers are looking for a quarterback in the transfer portal. It’s not a secret inside the program, either.
During an appearance on ‘Sports Nightly’ Thursday night, head coach Scott Frost said he’s met with both of his remaining scholarship quarterbacks, Logan Smothers and Heinrich Haarberg, and let them know that he’d be searching for a signal caller in the transfer portal.
“They know we’re looking for one. We may get one, we may not,” Frost said. “Feel good about what he have in that room, and I think both those guys are really anxious to learn some new stuff from a new guy and I think they’re looking forward to the competition whether there’s a new one or not.”
On Thursday night, Nebraska’s four-year starter at quarterback, Adrian Martinez, announced he’s transferring to Kansas State.
— Adrian Martinez (@MartinezTheQB) December 17, 2021
Frost touched on a multitude of topics during his interview, much of which dealt with the Huskers’ 2022 high school recruiting class, which saw 13 high schoolers sign their letter of intent to play at Nebraska during this week’s early signing period. Catch up on all the coverage here. There are also five known additions from the transfer portal.
>> Mark Whipple was hired as Nebraska’s new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Frost said that he’s impressed by the 64-year-old Whipple and his knowledge of the game and experience.
“Whip’s just smart. He’s been there, done it. He’s experienced,” Frost said. “If I was going to share duties and turn over the offense to somebody, experience is one of the key things I was looking for. Whip’s coached at the NFL level, the college level, he’s been a head coach, a coordinator. It’s fun talking football with him.”
>> Who plays quarterback for the new Whipple-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. “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.”
>> Richard Torres, Nebraska’s 2022 quarterback recruit, has elite arm talent, Frost said. Torres, from San Antonio, is a large quarterback at 6-6, 210 pounds. Torres’ senior year was cut short with a torn ACL.
“We were shopping for quarterbacks and looking at a lot of highly-ranked guys, and I fell in love with him the minute I saw his tape,” Frost said.
>> Frost said he and his entire staff got together for a Christmas dinner with everyone’s family. Frost had fun hearing the old playing-days stories of new receivers coach Mickey Joseph, who was a Husker quarterback in the late 80s and early 90s.
“What a good guy. He’s a guy who I ran into on the recruiting trail some when he was recruiting for LSU and watched how hard he recruited and how much effort he put into that,” Frost said. “How well his receivers have played. I think he’s going to be a huge addition, and think he’s going to help out that position.”
>> Frost loved what he heard from Donovan Raiola when the two started breaking down offensive line technique when Frost was on a recruiting trip. From that point, a connection was made. That ultimately led to Raiola being hired as Nebraska’s new offensive line coach.
“Everything he was saying was exactly what I believe in and I want to get done,” Frost said of Raiola. “I was kind of really excited about him after that. Again, I interviewed some really good candidates and there was probably two guys at the top at the end, but just fitting the whole staff together, it felt like he was the best fit.”
>> Nebraska did sign a high school offensive line recruit in New Jersey native Justin Evans-Jenkins. He’s a prospect that the Husker staff knew about, but the recruitment came on late.
“He’s a kid who had a ton of offers early,” Frost said. “He’s right on the border of what we’re looking for size-wise, and I think, probably, some people stepped back away from him because of size. …I just love his demeanor, I love the way he plays, I love the aggressiveness he plays with.”
>> Frost said he’s close to having that 10th and final assistant coaching role filled. Nebraska is currently without a full-time running backs coach and special teams coordinator. This past season, outside linebackers’ coach Mike Dawson was coaching his position group while also handing the special teams duties.
“We have to get special teams right and we have a running back spot,” Frost said. “I want to make the best add that I can, and it’s probably going to be more than one add and using some of our support staff for graduate assistants to try to help with some things. I want to make sure I’m doing the right thing. I know what I’m going to do, I just want to get the whole team together before we make it official.”
>> The Huskers signed Chase Androff in the 2022 class, a large tight end prospect from Minnesota at 6-foot-6, 230 pounds. Androff was in a run-heavy offense in high school and didn’t do much receiving, but Frost is confident position coach Sean Beckton and the staff and develop that part of his game.
“You gotta be big on the edges in this league, there’s a lot of big six techniques and fives and nines,” Frost said. “Tight ends need to be able to block those guys. He’s got the frame to do it.”
>> Ernest Hausmann, an in-state prospect at Columbus High School and the Huskers’ first verbal pledge of the 2022 class, is a guy who “popped” on tape for the inside linebackers coach Barrett Ruud.
“Really excited about him. I think he can play a lot of different positions,” Frost said. “We kind of have a young linebacker corps right now, but really excited to make that add.”
>> Gage Stenger, another in-state prospect that the Huskers flipped from Kansas State, is “one of the best football players in the state of Nebraska this year,” Frost said. Stenger starred at quarterback for Millard South, but is projected to use that athleticism on the defensive side of the ball, where he could grow and develop into a nickel, or hybrid linebacker-safety role, similar to what JoJo Domann played.
“I’m not sure where we’re going to play him yet, but I think he’s going to have a great chance just based on his athletic ability to make as difference for us,” Frost said.
>> Frost joked that Ruud is biased toward the Lincoln Southeast Knights, his alma mater, but the Huskers’ 2022 recruit from the school, Jake Appleget, is well deserving of a scholarship.
“His athletic ability kind of jumped at us,” Frost said. “His ability to run and jump, his vertical jump. Any time you take a guy with really high-end athletic ability, we feel like it’s our jobs as coaches to train them up the right way.”
>> With three of the four starters in Nebraska’s defensive backfield departing, that position was a priority on the recruiting trail for Frost and his staff. The Huskers went out and fixed it. They signed Hutchinson Community College safety Deshon Singleton, four-star Jaeden Gould and Malcolm Hartzog, who plays corner but is also a dangerous return man. Jalil Martin, an athlete from Chicago, could also start out as a defensive back. Nebraska also snagged a transfer from Arizona State in Tommi Hill, a former four-star corner.