2023 Preview: Offensive Line

Scholarship Returning: Brice Benhart, Turner Corcoran, Nouredin Nouili, Ethan Piper, Teddy Prochazka, Henry Lutovsky, Justin Jenkins

Scholarship Lost: Broc Bando (graduate), Trent Hixson (graduate), Kevin Williams (Charlotte), Brant Banks (Rice), Michael Lynn (none), Hunter Anthony (none), Alex Conn (none)

Scholarship Gained: Gunnar Gottula, Brock Knutson, Sam Sledge

Phil Steele B1G Position Ranking:
Ohio State
Penn State
Michigan State

Let’s be honest, all of the position groups i’ve gone over so far don’t matter at all unless this offensive line gets their shit together. For what seems like a decade, we’ve heard coaches talk about how this is the best group we’ve had and it’s all coming together, only to watch us get blasted in the trenches. And we are hearing it again this year even from outside resources:

I don’t know about that one, but i’m hoping he’s right. Nebraska seemingly always got the highly rated guys that everyone wanted… Benhart was down to Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Nebraska and was a nationally ranked heavyweight wrestler as a consensus four star and has underperformed. Turner Corcoran was a national top 250 player who has underperformed. Teddy Prochazka was one of our highest ranked recruits in his class and has been injured so much you wonder if he can get to where he needs to be. We aren’t the worlds most unlucky recruiting team, we just didn’t develop anyone. Maybe that is happening now and we have some good players to work with?

Before I dive too much into this group, one of the things that intrigues me is the fact that media, fans, and message boards were slobbing over the fact that Frost and his staff were grabbing taller and athletic guys and going to make us “look like a B1G line again”. We heard all about how guys like Farmer and Foster just weren’t big enough from the previous staff, and people ate it up. I tried telling people height can sometimes make things more difficult, and Frost went all in going after taller players along the OL in 2019 with guys like Fritzsche, Lynn, Andersen, Banks, etc. I said back then i’ll tell you exactly how this coaching tenure will go by how those guys do. Well… that didn’t go so hot. It’s the same concern I have with Rhule and his “just get track fast guys we will coach them with everything else” that I mentioned in the WR preview.

We had all sorts of articles talking about how what Frost and company were doing was working:


“In their division, Nebraska still has the best-looking roster. We call it the all-bus team because they look better than anyone else in the West in pregame. Long, tall dudes, really athletic, and then after a quarter or so, you stop worrying because they’re usually hurting themselves. They struggle with turnovers, they struggle with technique. I think it’s a culture issue.”

You even had anonymous coaches talking about how “Nebraska finally looks like a B1G team across the lines.”

But the italicized quote was the real issue… I told everyone that Duval and Husker Power were really good at Crossfit workouts to make guys look shredded, that doesn’t make them good at football. As my Iowa buddy stated, “if a squatting competition breaks out at midfield to decide the game you guys may have a shot, but you’ll probably be down double-digits in the actual football game.”

Rhule has shifted his focus back to just getting mean and tough offensive linemen, no height requirement. The 2024 commitments on the OL go Tauma (6’3), Davidson (6’4), Pyle (6’4), and Peters (6’3). So Husker fans are going to have to revert back to not “looking the part”. I’m not sure we can handle that. Joking of course.

Let’s shift away from that pet peeve of mine and circle back to 2023 with this offensive line. There is a lot of blind faith being put into this group by me. I put a ton of stock into what Matt Rhule is going to be able to do with this unit, but their position group coach is still the same from one of the worst lines i’ve seen play at Nebraska in 2022. Nebraska knew it needed immediate help, and went and sealed two transfer portal commitments from big-time players Ben Scott (center Arizona State) and Walter Rouse (tackle Stanford). They also snagged two portal additions in Jacob Hood (Georgia) and Tyler Knaak (Utah) to give us a bit more depth. I was feeling really good about those additions, as then we just needed to find 3 guys that could play from our current room since Scott and Rouse were sure-fire starters, and you were getting Nouili back from suspension as well who was arguably one of your best guys from the 2021 team.

But then Rouse flipped on us due to being outbid by Oklahoma in NIL money, and it was back to the drawing board for our biggest need on the OL, tackle. Nebraska already had Jacob Hood in spring ball from Georgia, but he just isn’t quite ready for the 2023 season, as he is dealing with chronic ankle issues. We went and grabbed Tyler Knaak from Utah to try and supplement that.

The bottom line is Ben Scott will anchor us at center, then it’s about filling out the guards that I feel good with, but the tackle spot just has to get so much better with Benhart and Prochazka being healthy. Let’s dive into it…

Teddy Prochazka – Our starting LT got injured the first practice or two in the spring, and he is 50/50 on being ready for the first game of the season at Minnesota. With Rouse flipping to Oklahoma, this injury puts us in a massive hole and domino effect shifting players to get our 5 best out there. We need him back ASAP.

Turner Corcoran – The #6 OT in the country when we signed him, his career so far has been underwhelming. This isn’t all his fault, as he is such a talent the coaches feel they can move him where he’s needed and he hasn’t been able to just concentrate on tackle or guard. He gets moved all around. This was supposed to be the year where he could focus on guard and get things going, but with the Prochazka injury he’s back out at LT.

Ben Scott – The Arizona State transfer is exactly who we thought he would be. An anchor in the middle, he is going to get us where we need to be. If he goes down, we just aren’t ready to stabilize. Jenkins is his backup currently, but if Prochazka gets back and we slide Corcoran down to guard, we would have some options to get a guy like Piper as his backup.

Ethan Piper – Currently taking first team reps at LG due to Corcoran shifting out to tackle. He was an unbelievable athlete and quite frankly he looked like a stud when he got in the game as a freshman early in his career. He seemed to slowly get worse and worse and i’m hoping a new offseason program and coaching will get him right.

Nouredin Nouilli – You could make the argument that Nouilli was our best OL in 2021 as he really turned it on midseason. But a PED suspension for 2022 had him out, and here’s hoping he gets back to his same form and has the rust shaken off. This is your starting RG if he is healthy as he is currently sitting out of practice.

Bryce Benhart – Your starting RT is very similar to your current starting LT. A top 150 recruit according to 2 services, he also stood out on the wrestling mat, making people think he was a shoe-in to have a successful career in Lincoln. It has been everything but that, and he has underperformed as well. He is someone that people point to transforming their body, and hopefully some more athletic offseason training will do him good.

Henry Lutovsky – This is a name that will eventually start for Nebraska. With Nouilli out, this is who is starting at RG currently for us, and that has me excited. Henry is extremely powerful and has a good mean streak on him. While there is a dropoff, he is young and hungry.

Justin Jenkins – Currently your backup center, Jenkins was the only player recruited on the OL in the 2022 recruiting class. While he has some promise, we are going to need someone else to play center if Scott goes down.

Tyler Knaak – I believe this to be your backup LT at the moment with Prochazka out. A transfer in from Utah, he has some development to do.

Gunnar Gottula – Currently, this is your backup for Benhart on the right side of the line. A true freshman from Lincoln Southeast, I can see his ability and possibly starting for us down the line in a few years.

Brock Knutson – Working at tackle as well on the left side, he is currently battling it out with Knaak to backup Corcoran while Prochazka is out. I think the staff would like to preserve the redshirt so I am giving the nod to Knaak currently.

Sam Sledge – A true freshman from Creighton Prep, I believe they are working him on the interior of the OL and look for him to redshirt.


Let’s face it, we didn’t go from needing Rouse and losing him, to all of a sudden being ok at those tackle spots. For me this season is going to come down to who we have on the edges and if they can hold up. Can Rhule/Raiola coach up Benhart to be what his recruiting ranking said he was? Can Rhule/Raiola keep Prochazka healthy enough at tackle to protect Sims’ blindside? And frankly all Rhule knows since he’s been here is Corcoran at LT anyway.

If those two are ready to go, I see Corcoran and Nouili as our starting guards. Piper and Lutovsky can swing between the 3 interior positions and I believe they will put Corcoran back outside if there is an injury or if someone just isn’t getting it done. If someone isn’t getting it done, we are going to have some problems because it causes a domino effect.

I still think we are absolutely screwed if Ben Scott goes down. While we can make due with figuring out tackle, Scott comes to us as a grad transfer as easily our best offensive lineman. That’s not good when Husker Power was supposed to develop us some animals when it got here in 2018. It’s now 2023 and guys who have been in our system for 4-5 years are still trying to figure things out.

We just aren’t there yet in my opinion. Much like WR, we needed our guys with P5 experience ready to go and it just isn’t quite there yet. Is Benhart magically going to get better? Corcoran is a much better guard than tackle, but now he’s out wide with the Prochazka injury. Nouili is still trying to shake some rust off i’m sure. Scott got injured in spring ball and we have to keep him healthy. Again, I feel good about our guard spot, but tackle worries me a ton and we go one deep at center.

The good news is, literally every scholarship player on our OL can be back for the 2024 season if they choose to due to the Covid year. That could be a massive advantage if things start clicking for us. That will help Raiola/Rhule develop some depth, as they won’t have to bring the recruits along as quickly and will give them time to get acclimated to Power 5 college football.

Join us Wednesday for our DL preview!

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7 thoughts on “2023 Preview: Offensive Line

  1. Frankly I think there’s some guys that just plain haven’t panned out. I am less of a mind that it is coaching or S&C or whatever. I will be truly stunned if we see significant improvement out of several of them. I know that’s a dour sentiment for a fan but I have seen some bad stuff out of guys that should know better by now.

    On the bright side I really like what I saw out of Gottula in the spring game and am pretty optimistic about the newer guys.

    1. I’d agree with you, I just don’t think they should have been as bad as they were. Benhart, Corcoran, those guys should have been at least average. And they haven’t been. I really like Gottula and Sledge. They moved a ton of guys to the defensive line from the 2023 class so that’s interesting to me.

  2. This year I just have no clue what to expect. Part of assumes the development will be tons better and we’ll at least look OK. But realistically wouldn’t be shocked if we still struggle due to depth and another regime change. More important to me is to see where we end up on the OL in a few years.

    I was definitely hoping for a little better class so far this year, at least “on paper”. We’ll learn quick I guess if this staff can develop these kids into something.

    1. Ya we will see. Brix should join the fold here shortly and they have some pieces. 2023 I do like a couple of those guys and their DL class it seems like they have some hits there. I’ll be curious how long we can keep Knighton, he seems to be really good.

      1. I definitely think there’s some hits in the past 2 classes. Not displeased overall with how recruiting has gone so far, given our recent dumpster fires of seasons. OL recruiting this year is what I was specifically hoping for a little more. Brix would be a huge get.

        We had a good DE/DL haul last year.

        Armchair recruiter here, the one position that worries me a little recruiting wise these past 2 years is LB. Am I missing something or does it seem we are really thin at recruiting that position? Maybe with the new defense, some of the DE or safety guys they figure will eventually become those LB spots or whatnot, but thought maybe some of all the WR we’ve taken, maybe a few more of those spots could’ve gone to a LB.

      2. LB is really weird. You have Henrich and Reimer as your lynchpin then Bullock to help out with some depth since those two always get hurt. But looking at the high school guys we’ve recruited after that, it’s really weird:

        4 star Keyshawn Greene made it to fall camp and left in 2020
        4 star Wynden Oh’houli made it barely one season and transferred back to Hawaii
        2 star Seth Malcom was a reach to begin with by Chinander to help Iowa recruiting, and he retired
        2 star Jake Appleget they moved to TE
        3 star Ernest Hausmann should be here starting this year but transferred to Michigan

        4 star Mikai Gbayor is still on the team but barely ever mentioned
        4 star Randolph Kpai is still on the team and really hasn’t lived up to his recruiting at all
        3 star Gage Stenger moved to LB from Rover/Safety and I think he will do well but we are very thin there
        3 star Garrett Snodgrass is just depth at this point
        3 star Javin Wright I have zero idea what’s going on with him
        They may have moved Kaine Williams there but i’m not sure
        And then you have the one ILB recruit from 2023 class Rogers.

        Pretty bleak.

  3. Panic might be a better word than bleak. I didn’t realize how bad the LB recruiting has been. The Hausmann transfer really hurt. If Reimer and Henrich go down, that spells big trouble.

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