If you thought you’d seen busy attrition seasons in the past, buckle up because the activity in the transfer portal through the earliest days of the offseason hinted at a lot of movement before kickoff in 2022.
Chalk some of that up to a more-active-than-usual coaching carousel this year, but most of it is probably just the way things are now. The portal and one-time transfer rule have had the intended impact, which opens a new avenue for roster building.
“When you’re as close as we’ve been, one or two more pieces, one or two more guys can get you over the hump,” Scott Frost said in October. “We’re probably going to look to the transfer portal a little more, look to junior college a little more and focus on those things to make sure we replace a couple guys we might be losing and try to add just a couple more of the pieces I think we need.”
Transfer wide receiver Samori Touré led the Huskers in receptions (46) and yards (898) in 2021, and transfer linebacker Chris Kolarevic ranked 13th on the team in tackles (27) while appearing in all twelve games. Both moved up from the FCS ranks ahead of last season. Running back Markese Stepp, a USC transfer, appeared in seven games, rushing for 177 yards with two touchdowns.
Of course, increased player movement cuts both ways and Nebraska has long been a program subject to high attrition rates.
From last year’s attrition tracker:
Nebraska has had at least 40% of its signing classes leave without completing their eligibility in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2016, 2017 and 2018. That’s not including players who declared early for the NFL Draft, as they obviously contributed. A program wants to be in a place where players perform well enough to leave early. But the Huskers’ attrition rate has remained pretty steady over two decades, and losing nearly four out of every 10 players coaches hand select either based on their talent or to address specific needs is definitely an uphill battle.
Why does Nebraska likely have a high attrition rate? That’s another difficult question to answer. Continual change among coaches almost certainly doesn’t help, but location probably plays a role as well. The Huskers have always had to recruit nationally to build one of the 10 most winningest programs in college football. That may make some of this attrition inherent. It’s a lot easier to get homesick when you’re thousands of miles from home.
That all still holds true, but the Frost era aligns almost perfectly with increased transfers meaning the old numbers––already high at Nebraska compared to peer programs––may no longer apply. From 2000 to 2017, Nebraska lost 42.4% of all scholarship signees to attrition. Frost’s four classes have already seen 31.2% of scholarship signees go elsewhere, a high rate given that those players, many still early in their careers, have had the least opportunity to transfer.
You can find Nebraska’s attrition rate by class back to 2000 at the bottom of this post. We’ll also be tracking all of Nebraska’s attrition and additions here. It’s sure to be updated often during a crucial offseason for the Huskers.
RB Sevion Morrison (transfer, Kansas)
RB Marvin Scott III (transfer, Florida Atlantic)
QB Adrian Martinez (transfer, Kansas State)
LB Jackson Hannah (transfer, Tennessee)
DB Nadab Joseph
P William Przystup
LB Will Honas (transfer, Kansas State)
DL Jordon Riley (transfer, Oregon)
LB Wynden Ho’ohuli (transfer, Hawaii)
LB Pheldarius Payne (transfer)
WR Will Nixon (transfer)
DL Casey Rogers (transfer)
OL Kevin Williams Jr. (Northern Colorado)
K Timmy Bleekrode (Furman)
DB Tommi Hill (Arizona State)
P Brian Buschini (Montana)
K Spencer Pankratz (Furman)
LS Brady Weas (Georgetown)
WR Isaiah Garcia-Castaneda (New Mexico State)
QB Casey Thompson (Texas)
OL Hunter Anthony (Oklahoma State)
WR Trey Palmer (LSU)
QB Chubba Purdy (Florida State)
DB Omar Brown (Northern Iowa)
PLAYERS FORGOING REMAINING ELIGIBILITY
ATTRITION RATE BY CLASS (DEPARTURES/SIGNEES)
2021 – 10.5% (2/19)
2020 – 47.8% (11/23)
2019 – 37.0% (10/27)
2018 – 66.7% (17/24)
2017 – 61.1% (11/18)
2016 – 47.6% (10/21)
2015 – 52.4% (11/21)
2014 – 33.3% (8/24)
2013 – 42.3% (11/26)
2012 – 35.3% (6/17)
2011 – 45.0% (9/20)
2010 – 40.9% (9/22)
2009 – 40.0% (8/20)
2008 – 42.9% (12/28)
2007 – 44.4% (12/27)
2006 – 33.3% (8/24)
2005 – 43.7% (14/32)
2004 – 30.0% (6/20)
2003 – 50.0% (10/20)
2002 – 40.0% (8/20)
2001 – 44.4% (8/18)
2000 – 38.1% (8/21)
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.