As 2022 class takes shape, QB remains to be determined
On Wednesday, the Nebraska football program officially introduced 12 additions to its roster on the 2022 Early Signing Day.
However, the future of the most critical position on the team very much remains to be determined.
One of NU’s newest batch of signees was a quarterback in three-star Richard Torres out of San Antonio, Texas. He joins sophomore Logan Smothers and redshirt freshman Heinrich Haarberg as the Huskers’ three current scholarship QBs.
But, as head coach Scott Frost strongly hinted, there is likely to be at least one more contender added to that competition via the NCAA Transfer Portal.
“Quarterback is definitely a spot that we’re taking a look at every kid that we can,” Frost said. “I think our mind is leaning toward taking one in the portal right now. We’re low on numbers there, but it needs to be the right one, too.”
Several notable transfer quarterbacks have been linked to Nebraska over the past few weeks, but there appears to have been little movement toward finding a match - publicly, at least.
New offensive coordinator Mark Whipple, who just coached Pitt's Kenny Pickett to become a Heisman Trophy finalist, said he's worked with a wide range of quarterbacks over his four decades of coaching.
From Pickett to Ben Roethlisberger to Donovan McNabb, Whipple said there weren't any specific criteria a quarterback needed to meet to fit his system. They just needed to possess a few key intangibles - leadership, winning mentality, toughness, work ethic, and, obviously, talent.
As important as any of those, Whipple said, was competitiveness.
"Those guys are, excuse my French, but they're pricks," Whipple said. "I've never really seen a winner at the quarterback position be a nice guy."
Whipple explained that it wasn't necessarily a matter of a quarterback being a jerk, but more the ability to bring out the best of the entire team and hold everyone around them accountable. He also needed a guy who wasn't afraid to be honest with him and the rest of the coaches.
Whipple said that when a QB isn't afraid to communicate what types of plays and throws he likes and dislikes, it allows the staff to put him in a position to play with maximum confidence. When the quarterback is confident, it spreads through the rest of the offense.
So what does that mean for Smothers, Haarberg, and Torres?
Frost said he and Whipple had total faith in the current quarterbacks despite their inexperience. Even when Nebraska adds a transfer QB to the mix, Frost insisted everyone would still have every opportunity to make their case this offseason.
"I'm confident in those guys," Frost said. "Coach Whip's had a chance to look at those guys already, too, and he's confident in those guys. If those are our guys going into the year, I feel great about it, or else I wouldn't have taken those guys.
"I thought Logan played three excellent quarters against Iowa, and we didn't finish great. I've said all along that I think H has a ton of talent, and it's just a matter of time with him. So we're really excited about those guys, and Whip is too. If there's the right guy to add to that competition, we will."