Spring 2023 Position Previews: Wide Receiver

This is one of the more interesting positions for me. Nebraska loses its top guy from last year with Trey Palmer. And even with that, you see Nebraska with 14 scholarship WRs for camp and think there is plenty of talent to go around. Compare that to Iowa, where according to this Iowa now that Brody Brecht has left the team, the Hawkeyes are down to 4 scholarship WRs with only 2 available for spring football practice. One of which is 25 years old.

It’s just crazy to think how much talent we may have. But with that said, since 2019 we’ve heard that Nebraska’s WR room is crazy talented.

It’s my opinion that it never is really too difficult to have talented RBs and WRs (unless you’re Iowa). A QB and OL is what makes those things go. But there is definite reason for optimism heading into 2023 if you ask me.

Let’s start with the easiest prediction

Billy Kemp was brought here from Virginia to do one thing, start for the Big Red. He is on the career charts for the Cavaliers and quite frankly you don’t get someone with 25 starts in Power 5 football, and an all-conference ACC performer without promising him some things. And he is going to be our slot WR while also returning punts. Lock it in.

Nebraska returns their second leading WR

Marcus Washington returns for the Huskers in 2023, but his production pales in comparison to a guy like Palmer with 31 receptions for 470 yards and a touchdown. With that said, he could be the big bodied WR that we are looking for on the outside. While I do have some reservations about how he would handle Sims being named the starter (if that happens), you have to like what he brings to your program.

Most Intriguing

Count me supremely interested in what Josh Fleeks, Zavier Betts, and Isaiah Garcia-Castenada. Don’t forget that Garcia-Castenada was highly coveted coming in from New Mexico State, starting for Nebraska against Northwestern where he was a huge play potential WR that had 4 catches for 120 yards and a touchdown before being put in the doghouse by Mickey Joseph. Fleeks really started to flounder at Baylor once Rhule and his staff left, could he be reinvigorated here in Lincoln? And there’s no denying what the staff is going to think when they see Betts in football pads and with his ability, but can he keep his focus?

That doesn’t even include a guy like Alante Brown who you have to wonder if he can make it back?

Six Incoming Freshmen

Nebraska brought in a ton of new talent at this spot as well highlighted by Malachi Coleman from Lincoln East who was a top 100 recruit nationally. Demitrius Bell and Jaidyn Doss are no slouches from a recruiting standpoint either. Bryce Lloyd, Jeremiah Charles, and and Jaylen Lloyd are all intriguing gets that have Evan Cooper all over them.

I have trouble thinking we are going to get a true freshman contributing heavily on the field, but I won’t put anything past this staff getting talented guys on the field.

Who can learn the offense the quickest

And let’s be honest, one of the things that is going to determine getting on the field is learning the playbook and being where you’re supposed to be. Those are all things no one can predict, let alone how the 6 freshmen adapt to college life.

Let’s not forget our starting QB may not even be throwing to them live this spring

While i’m of the opinion that Sims is going to be the starter, Casey Thompson has a very good chance as well. But with 14 and possibly 15 scholarship WRs on the roster, Rhule is going to have to trim the fat in this group. It would be pretty unfair to keep someone who has really good chemistry with Sims or the other QBs and let go of someone that just isn’t jiving with Sims, then start Thompson who he may have a relationship with.

Kade Warner was Adrian Martinez’s roommate

Let’s beat a dead horse and try to drive the point home of what i’m getting at. Kade Warner was voted captain for Nebraska’s football team because he developed chemistry with the starting quarterback. Seeing how players do with guys throwing them the ball is going to be paramount heading into summer. While the coaches still have practices they can be at after spring and into fall, they are going to have their pecking order picked out. And that pecking order (including who they say needs to move on) will be established with Sims throwing to them.

Whoever steps up with that is who they are going to roll with.

Tomorrow we will go over offensive line!

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10 thoughts on “Spring 2023 Position Previews: Wide Receiver

    1. LOL I was just thinking the same thing. 100 guys on scholarship but short on WRs and other spots? I was really confused. But then again a lot of those guys aren’t coming til the summer. Like WR we have 6 coming in.

  1. Jalil Martin is now getting reps at WR and DB, btw. I think Hill flipped back to DB. What’s amazing about the numbers at this spot is that we have very little to show for our recruiting efforts from 2019-22. 0 left from 2019, Betts’s return gives us 1 from 2020, Hardy is all from 2021 and he’s a good candidate to be gone by fall, Bonner at TE means Jones is all for 2022. These numbers are all from the transfer portal or this freshman class. We have got to figure out how to recruit and retain kids here.

      1. Missed Alante above but he could get processed pretty easily. Whats crazy is the WR struggle started under Pelini. I just hope the answer is a 23 year old coach or we should just go back to power run and option.

      2. I just went with people here this spring and on the roster. I just get worried when there’s a numbers crunch, the guy who wasn’t even here in the spring may be the odd guy out.

      3. You really think we would process an incoming freshman this staff recruited before we even get to camp? I think these guys are looking more down the road and would rather cut a sophomore who isn’t starting so they can begin development with a raw athlete but lets see. If they see value they move you like Bonner. They have some easy cuts but no doubt some tough calls.

      4. In no way would they process an incoming freshman. Which incoming freshman they recruited did I reference they would process? That would be a mistype by me.

  2. Good points on the importance of WRs (and any position really) having compatability with coaches and good chemistry with QBs. With all of this WR potential but limited space in the room, I get the feeling there’s going to be some uncomfortable or “eye opening” departures after spring ball.

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