JD Spielman was on pace to own a good chunk of Nebraska’s receiving section in the record books, if not the whole thing.
He will not end his career a Husker, however. The senior wideout has put his name in the transfer portal, sources confirmed to Hail Varsity.
Spielman left the team on March 2 before the beginning of spring practices, returning home to Minnesota to handle what Nebraska called a “personal health matter.” Spielman has not yet graduated, and used a redshirt season in 2016. If he’s to play at the D1 level in 2020, he’ll need a waiver to do it.
“We're kind of just backing off right now and making sure that he's able to do the things that he needs to do,” Nebraska head coach Scott Frost said in March. “I think there will be a lot of dialogue down the road, but right now we just wish him the best.”
Spielman leaves Nebraska third all-time in program history in both receptions and receiving yards after becoming the first Husker in school history with three 800-yard receiving seasons. He also ranks second in 100-yard receiving games, third in combined kick return touchdowns, seventh in punt return touchdowns and eighth in receiving touchdowns. He has 170 receptions for 2,546 yards and 15 touchdowns to his credit.
The departure officially leaves Wan’Dale Robinson as the team’s leading returning receiver. He had 40 catches for 453 yards and two scores as a true freshman in 2019. Behind him, the only returning receiver with a reception at the FBS level is walk-on Kade Warner.
Nebraska added five wide receivers in its 2020 recruiting class, though, including 4-star wideout Zavier Betts and the top-rated JUCO wideout in the country in Omar Manning. It also added 4-star Marcus Fleming, Alante Brown (the top prep academy player in the cycle), and Will Nixon. Tight end Chris Hickman, a redshirt freshman in 2020, was set to play wideout in the spring before practices were canceled.
As things currently stand, Nebraska has 79 scholarship players on roster, not including freshman Isaac Gifford, who joined as a walk-on but is expected to go on scholarship in the fall. Per the Big Ten’s rules on oversigning, Nebraska can only add one more scholarship player to the roster this offseason. So far, it has signed 24 players in the 2020 class (limit of 25 after exceeding the limit in 2019), and even though defensive back Henry Gray has transferred to FIU, he still counts towards NU’s number. The remaining scholarships (up to 85) would be distributed to walk-ons already on the roster.
Derek is a newbie on the Hail Varsity staff covering Husker athletics. In college, he was best known as ‘that guy from Twitter.’ He has covered a Sugar Bowl, a tennis national championship and almost everything in between (except an NCAA men’s basketball tournament game… *tears*). In his spare time, he can be found arguing with literally anyone about sports.