InsideNebraska - Three & Out: Another QB option, transfer portal mayhem, and early enrollees
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Three & Out: Another QB option, transfer portal mayhem, and early enrollees

This is HuskerOnline.com's feature in which recruiting analysts Mike Matya and Bryan Munson give their weekly takes on topical issues concerning Nebraska football, baseball and recruiting.

Today in our next installment of "Three and Out" we hit on another quarterback roster option, transfer portal mayhem, and early enrollee breakdown.

Another quarterback possibility

With four-year starter Adrian Martinez transferring to Kansas State, Nebraska is still trying to shore up their quarterback room for the upcoming 2022 college football season.

Logan Smothers and Heinrich Haarberg are the two scholarship quarterbacks currently on the roster, and incoming freshmen Richard Torres will be joining them this weekend as an early enrollee.

The Husker coaches are also scouring the transfer portal for possible quarterback additions to the roster, and Florida State transfer Chubba Purdy will be visiting Lincoln on the January 14 weekend. Texas's Casey Thompson is another potentially on the radar.

But there is yet another option who will be arriving in June to practice with the football team. Nebraska baseball signee Mikey Pauley was the Kansas Max Preps Football Player of the Year for 2021, and he was also the recipient of the prestigious Simone Award given out to the top football player in the Kansas City metro area after every season.

"I've been on the phone with both the football and baseball guys here recently, and just getting in touch with the new [offensive] staff coming in to kind of lock it all in and make it official to put something out there," Pauley explained. "That's really what we talked about."

Pauley has been in contact with Nebraska's new offensive coordinator, Mark Whipple, among others discussing the plan of action for him going forward.

Pauley will complete his spring baseball season with Overland Park (Kan.) Blue Valley Northwest, and then he will head to Lincoln in June to begin working out with the football team. He was offered football scholarships by both Kansas State and Kansas before he signed to play baseball with the Cornhuskers.

"I'm going to be up there for summer [football] camp and also try to find some baseball activity during the summer, and then just go forward with doing football in the fall and transitioning into baseball," the 6-foot-4, 205-pound Pauley said. "We'll see how that looks, but I'm sure we'll make it work out with both sides.

"I've been talking with Sean Dillon and Coach Whipple. Coach Whipple talked to me about what he's heard about me and he spoke with the baseball staff as well. I'm going to speak with him again more once he gets settled in in Lincoln. I just introduced myself to him and got to know him a little bit."

As a senior in 2021, Pauley led Blue Valley Northwest to the 6A state championship in Kansas. He had 3,159 yards of total offense (1,945 passing, 1,214 rushing) and 45 touchdowns. He started the last couple games of his freshman year in high school, and then was the starting quarterback for the past three seasons as well.

In the state title game, he completed 15-of-21 passes for 186 yards and one touchdown in a 41-21 victory over three-time defending champion Derby. He also ran for another 157 yards and four scores on 32 carries.

"I think I do well not only throwing the ball, but also making plays with my feet," Pauley stated. "Just kind of extending plays if there's pressure or a play breaks down. I'm good at getting the ball to the guys who are running routes out there."

On the baseball side of things, Pauley was initially recruited by coach Will Bolt and staff as a catcher, but they're leaving open the possibility that he could play a corner infield or a corner outfield position once he gets to Nebraska.

"They are kind of leaving it open, but I definitely think it helps that I can catch or play anywhere when I get up there," Pauley said. "I've been working out and getting ready for baseball to start this spring."

Pauley will remain on a baseball scholarship unless he would see action in a football game. Then, he would transition to being a football scholarship player in Lincoln.

"I just want to make an impact any way I can once I get there," Pauley said. "I definitely want to help make the team better. For sure."

- Mike Matya

Pondering the portal

The transfer portal has me shook. I don't think anyone envisioned the portal working this way. It's become the most sinister game of musical chairs. And I am connected to it. I am connected by having to cover it. I am connected because I have friends with sons who are in the portal. And I am connected because my son plays college football.

Throughout my son's high school playing days there was a grim statistic passed down by his head coach and then repeated by the parents: Only 7% of all high school football players will play college football.

This number needs revision.

According to one report, there are over 1,000 more players that have entered the portal this season in comparison to last season. There are more options for college coaches to look for immediate help versus scouring the high school ranks.

My son was not a heralded recruit. I have had too much time this fall to sit back and wonder how his process would be different this year than it was two years ago. We know other recruits that have college football potential comparable to Trevor who we have been personally encouraging to stay positive and be patient because they don't have any offers yet.

And the patience for my buddy and his son who is in the portal is running out. He's a quarterback. His phone rang immediately following the announcement that he was in the portal and then it stopped. Four or five local-ish schools were interested, but not offer in December interested. And again, I said the best thing to do was stay positive and patient.

As we inch closer to the start of the spring semester and Nebraska still doesn't have a transfer quarterback secured from the portal the anxiety grows. Read the Scrolls. It's palpable. And while I understand the frustration, I think about the father of the quarterback in the portal waiting on an opportunity.

Unfortunately, I have had this other lens of the portal to look through and it has hurt to take it all in. I am humbled, stressed and embarrassed all at the same time.

While one player is fortunate that he never had to face the shark infested waters of 2021 and 2022, another gives up a full ride in the hope of a better destination, another capable player faces never getting an opportunity, while another player plays "Who is the highest bidder?" and dangles leaving a starting job at a P5 school in his rear view.

It's been getting the best of me. Recruiting has always been cutthroat, but the portal seems to have really upped the stakes. I am just not sure if college football improved? And I wonder if the players or the powers that be care...

- Bryan Munson

Defensive back Jaeden Gould is Nebraska's only four-star signee and he will be an early enrollee.
Defensive back Jaeden Gould is Nebraska's only four-star signee and he will be an early enrollee. (Rivals.com)

Nebraska's Class of 2022 early enrollees will be arriving in Lincoln this weekend so they can partake in winter conditioning and spring practice.

This is the fewest amount of signees who will be joining the team at mid-semester in Scott Frost's tenure as the Huskers' head coach, with one less early enrollee than the Class of 2019 group.

Class of 2022 early enrollees

Nebraska's early enrollees this year are split evenly, three players on offense and three players on defense. As with most newcomers, it will be an uphill climb to get immediate playing time in the 2022 season, but junior college defensive back DeShon Singleton and New Jersey high school defensive back Jaeden Gould probably stand the best chance to contribute early.

Husker early enrollees under Scott Frost
Class Junior College High School All

2018

4

4

8

2019

0

7

7

2020

3*

6

9

2021

0

12

12

2022

1

5

6

Totals

8

34

42

[* WR Alante Brown attended prep school prior to coming to Nebraska]

Early enrollee scorecard
Class Still on Husker roster or graduated Left the program

Class of 2018

ILB Will Honas, DB Deontai Williams

RB Greg Bell, OL Will Farniok, QB Adrian Martinez, TE Justin McGriff, K Barret Pickering, WR Mike Williams

Class of 2019

OL Brant Banks, ILB Nick Henrich, TE Chris Hickman, OLB Garrett Nelson,

QB Luke McCaffrey, WR Jamie Nance, WR/APB Wan’Dale Robinson

Class of 2020

WR Alante Brown, OT Turner Corcoran, OLB Blaise Gunnerson, DB Tamon Lynum, ILB Eteva Mauga, DL Jordon Riley, QB Logan Smothers

S Henry Gray, DB Jaiden Francois

Class of 2021

DL Ru'Quan Buckley, DB Marques Buford Jr., TE James Carnie, RB Gabe Ervin, TE Thomas Fidone, QB Heinrich Haarberg, ILB Randolph Kpai, OL Henry Lutovsky, ILB Seth Malcom, OT Teddy Prochazka

DB Malik Williams, OT Branson Yager

TOTALS

23

13

NU has been averaging nine early enrollees per cycle through Frost's first four recruiting classes. About 1/3 of Nebraska's early enrollees in Coach Frost's first four classes have since departed the program for various reasons.

None of the in-state early enrollees have defected from the team, and only a couple of border state early enrollees have departed. Not surprisingly, the transition Class of 2018 has had the highest rate of attrition [75%] of early enrollees leaving Lincoln prematurely.

Husker fans will get their first look at the new early enrollee additions to Nebraska's team in action at the Red-White spring game on April 9.

- Mike Matya