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Looking At Nebraska’s QB Room After Transfer Portal Departures

On April 28th, Nebraska quarterback Casey Thompson shocked the Husker program when he decided to enter his name into the transfer portal after one year with the team.  But that wasn’t the only departure to impact the Cornhuskers. On May 1, Logan Smothers would make Nebraska’s quarterback competition even smaller. This was shown when he would depart from the program as a grad transfer. But how do those transfers impact current Nebraska quarterbacks heading into the season opener against Minnesota?

An Undisputed QB1

With Smothers and Thompson set to depart from Nebraska.  Matt Rhule and Marcus Satterfield, now have a clear path for Jeff Sims to assume the starting quarterback position at Nebraska. We were treated to glimpse his passing talent when he threw for 139 yards in the Spring game. He was also effective in the rushing category, as he would run for a touchdown close to the endzone. But this is just a small taste of what he can do. In his career at Georgia Tech under Geoff Collins, he threw for 30 touchdowns and 1,115 passing yards. Now, at Nebraska, he is going to have to prove himself all over again. But there are a few advantages to his situation. He is going into an offense that he is tailor-made to run, and he has a group of talented receivers that he can throw the ball to in Marcus Washington and Billy Kemp. But can he cut down on the turnovers that plagued him at Georgia Tech?

With Jeff Sims As the Starter, Who is Going to Fill the Backup Role?

If  Rhule and Satterfield want to decide this, they will have to pick through a litter of inexperienced options.  When Scottsdale Arizona native Chubba Purdy committed to the program, he had high hopes to compete alongside Thompson. But it seems that his career hasn’t gone to plan. This is because he only played a handful of games last season and threw interceptions in each of his appearances. It seems he wasn’t much better in the Huskers’ Spring game last month. This was because he only completed 6 out of 13 passes with a turnover.  This situation is even worse because neither Jarrett Synek nor Heinrich Haarberg has ever played a down for the Cornhuskers. To combat this inexperience, the staff will have to dedicate time in practice to helping them both improve their craft. If the staff doesn’t see this as a valuable opportunity to help the Husker quarterbacks, it is a fear that both backups will struggle in game-time situations this season.

A Little Update on Dylan Raiola

Although the quarterback position looks a little thin right now, there is a staff member that may change Nebraska’s fortunes in that regard. Enter offensive line coach Donovan Raiola. As the uncle of five-star quarterback prospect Dylan Raiola, he holds a special connection to the quarterback. But will he commit to the Cornhuskers? According to 247Sports, most analysts have him as a lock to commit to the Georgia Bulldogs. But I don’t think that this is the case. As a member of the 2024 recruiting class, Raiola has plenty of time to choose a school and make a decision that fits him.  Furthermore, his father, Dominic Raiola has some much-needed input into Nebraska’s program. As an All-American center for the school during the 2000s.  He can also provide special insight to the younger Raiola. But is it too late? USC and Lincoln Riley communicate with Raiola almost every day and Oregon’s Dan Lanning is pushing hard for him to become a Duck. Plus, every other school in the country wants a chance to visit with him.

Read more Last Word on College Football coverage on Dylan Raiola here.

Intriguing Options When It Comes to In-State QB Play

If Raiola doesn’t end up signing with the Cornhuskers, Rhule, and his staff could recruit quarterbacks in-state. Although most Nebraska kids are happy to commit to the program.  Rhule and his staff missed out on several prospects. This was exemplified by Zane Flores’s pledge to Oklahoma State as well as Bellevue West’s Daniel Kaelin’s commitment to Missouri. While these misses sting, Rhule’s coaching staff is now in the market for quarterbacks in 2024. With this in mind, an interesting prospect that I would keep an eye on is Anthony Rezac. He already has an offer from the Nebraska program as well as Big Ten rivals Iowa and Minnesota. But what stands out about him? As a junior for Omaha Westside in 2022, Rezac completed 168 passes out of 250 attempts while passing for 19 touchdowns. As a result of this, he only threw four interceptions last season. Do Rhule and his staff stay on him to commit to the program, or will other teams take over his recruitment? It’s hard to tell with his senior season looming, but the staff has said they want to try to keep kids in-state if they can.

Photo Credit: Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

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