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2017 Nebraska Football Spring Preview: Wide Receivers

You’re going to see new faces to replace the ones that have departed Lincoln

Gallery: Late Husker Surge Toppels Illinois David McGee

It’s been an interesting two years under Keith Williams and Danny Langsdorf with the Nebraska Wide Receivers. Yes, last year was a little less of a passers delight, with the Huskers finishing 86th in FBS in Passing Offense. If you’re thinking that’s bad, realize that it is a higher ranking than schools like Alabama, Wisconsin and Stanford. It’s a far cry from the 33rd ranked passing attack that the Huskers had in 2015, but the win-loss record & the need to throw to come back in a lot of games attributed to that.

Now, you lose a Quarterback in Tommy Armstrong Jr., who was more a Dual Threat runner, and you gain either Tanner Lee, Patrick O’Brien, or Tristan Gebbia, who are more traditional drop back passers. Even with #runthedamnball guy, Nebraska’s passing game should be more of a help to the offense this season.

Nebraska has pass catchers they have to replace this coming season, but it’s a huge help that two of their three newly signed Wideouts are on campus and will be in Spring practice.

Leaving (with last year’s stats):

Jordan Westerkamp - 38 catches, 526 yards, 5 TD’s
Brandon Reilly - 21 catches, 412 yards, 2 TD’s
Alonzo Moore - 20 catches, 375 yards, 2 TD’s
Lavan Alston - left the team, no catches in Lincoln in 2 seasons

2017 Returning Wide Receivers

No. Name Ht. Wt. Yr. Hometown (Prev. School)
No. Name Ht. Wt. Yr. Hometown (Prev. School)
45 Ty Chaffin 6-5 200 RFr. Burwell, Neb. (Burwell)
80 Brett Classen 6-2 205 Sr. Medina, Minn. (Winona State) (Wayzata)
2 Zack Darlington 6-2 195 Jr. Apopka, Fla. (Apopka)
43 Todd Honas 5-11 200 RFr. Aurora, Neb. (Aurora)
39 Donovan McDonald 5-11 175 So. Montclair, N.J. (Fork Union Military Academy) (Montclair)
8 Stanley Morgan Jr. 6-1 200 Jr. New Orleans, La. (St. Augustine)
26 Brady Pelzer 5-11 185 Jr. Bellevue, Neb. (Bellevue East)
15 De'Mornay Pierson-El 5-9 185 Sr. Alexandria, Va. (West Potomac)
81 Gabe Rahn 6-1 195 Sr. Le Mars, Iowa (Le Mars)
83 Bryan Reimers 6-5 210 Jr. Lincoln, Neb. (Lincoln East)
48 Ne'Land Smith 6-3 190 RFr. Blue Springs, Mo. (Blue Springs)
10 JD Spielman 5-9 180 RFr. Eden Prairie, Minn. (Eden Prairie)
9 Keyan Williams 5-10 195 Jr. New Orleans, La. (Fresno State) (Lusher)
31 Conor Young 6-2 170 So. Cozad, Neb. (Cozad)


2017 New Wide Receivers

Name Ht Wt Yr Hometown (Prev School)
Name Ht Wt Yr Hometown (Prev School)
Keyshawn Johnson Jr. 6-1 195 Fr. Calabasas, Calif. (Calabasas)
Tyjon Lindsey 5-9 160 Fr. Corona, Calif. (Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.))
Jaevon McQuitty 5-11 190 Fr. Columbia, Mo. (Battle)
Dylan Reynolds 6-0 170 Fr. Broken Bow, Neb. (Broken Bow)


One can argue that the talent level of guys like Tyjon, Keyshawn, McQuitty and JD Spielman will help offset the loss of a possession guy like Westerkamp, a deep threat like Alonzo Moore or a grinder like Brandon Reilly. However, it’s a honest fact that at the very least, Nebraska is going to have to depend on no fewer than four and probably five newcomers on the field next year at this position. That is why Nebraska wanted to sign a lot of kids this past recruiting cycle. It helps that four of the five main newcomers are on campus & will be working with their QB’s. It will be interesting to see who learns fast and who needs more time come this fall. Spielman and Keyan Williams spent the Fall with Lee & POB, so you have to think they have the upper hand. But the talent level of Johnson & McQuitty sells something, and Tyjon will bring that up even more.

Nebraska plans on being more efficient in the passing game this coming season to give the running game a break on carrying the offense when the going gets tough. I know a lot of folks out there don’t like hearing that, but the more playmakers Nebraska can get the ball to, the better off this offense becomes.

I want to see not only the deep threat (who I think will be McQuitty and Tyjon), but also the gritty grind out, get 7 on 3rd and 6 guy that Westerkamp was. Keyshawn seems like the guy that has the best chance to become that. Does Spielman become the scatback galore? What’s Keyan Williams role in the coming season?

And what happens to the veterans on this roster? Does DPE finally get back to Freshman threat status? Does Stanley Morgan become the leader of the crew and quite possibly the offense? Does Bryan Reimers keep impressing and get better?

There are so many questions out there, and it’s beautiful that Nebraska has so many options and a coaching staff that seems to be willing to put it in the lab and find out what mixes well with the other parts of the offense.

We’ll see a fair amount of this in the Spring game on April 15th, going against a secondary that isn’t terrible and eventually better than they were last year. It’s a fun concept to have the possibility of an actual passing threat that isn’t just a 9 route and YOLO again in Lincoln.