The Nebraska Cornhuskers are coming off another disappointing season on the football field in Lincoln, but the 2022 campaign will bring a fresh look to the Huskers with some notable new faces taking over key roles. Head coach Scott Frost may continue to hear it from his critics after another bowl-less season for the once-proud Nebraska program, but he may be bringing in his best overall roster to the new season he has had yet.
Nebraska's national recruiting ranking dipped this season, but the Huskers have worked hard in the transfer portal to fill some key roster holes for the upcoming season. And after signing top-20 classes in each of the previous three seasons, it stands to reason this may finally be the year Nebraska pulls a few things together to make a return to the bowl season. If Nebraska can just flip a few close calls to go in its favor in the fall after being hit with a string of bad luck last season, it would not be impossible to envision a possible run to a Big Ten Championship Game appearance out of the West Division. But first, Nebraska needs to jell and find its new identity.
Approximately one-third of Nebraska's scholarship roster has a new look going into the 2022 season between its signing class and transfer additions (and losses), and Frost has a handful of new assistants to help him out as well. This could be just what Frost needed, or it could prove to be the final straw. But we'll focus on Frost's job situation another time. For now, here are some of the key new faces in the program that may have some impact on the team's success this season.
Janiran Bonner, WR
Nebraska had a Class of 2022 that was relatively slow to put together, but Frost and the Huskers finished well with a good showing on National Signing Day. Among the NSD prizes was Bonner, a 4-star wide receiver who should quickly find his path to a key role in the Nebraska passing game. Bonner is one of the most talented receivers to head to Nebraska in recent years, and after losing leading receiver Samari Toure, the Huskers will need someone like Bonner to develop quickly to be a big-play receiver they can rely on.
Jaeden Gould, CB
Another 4-star addition to the Class of 2022 in Lincoln was Gould. The cornerback was a nice pickup on the recruiting trail in New Jersey after Gould's apparent path to USC took a detour following a coaching change with the Trojans. The flexibility he has to play multiple positions in the secondary should allow Gould plenty of opportunity to earn some playing time starting this spring. Gould enrolled early so he can participate in spring practices and get a jumpstart on helping improve the Nebraska secondary right away.
Tommi Hill, CB
Also joining the Nebraska secondary is Hill, a transfer from Arizona State. Hill played in 11 games for the Sun Devils as a true freshman in 2021 but decided to move to a new school during a turbulent offseason for the Arizona State program. ASU's loss may be Nebraska's gain as the Huskers add an experienced player who was among the top at his position coming out of high school.
Casey Thompson, QB
With Adrian Martinez moving on through the transfer portal, Nebraska will have a new quarterback running the offense for the first time since 2017. And it just so happens the quarterback running the show may be arriving through the transfer portal as well with Thompson joining Nebraska from Texas. The graduate transfer is likely to be the top candidate for the starting job with two seasons of eligibility to carry with him from Austin. Thompson has 10 career starts under his belt from his time with the Longhorns with a 64 percent completion rate for 2,422 yards and 30 touchdowns. Last season alone, Thompson had three games with five or more touchdowns, so Nebraska should feel confident in handing the ball to their new quarterback.
Deondre Jackson, RB
And what a fun backfield combo would it be to see a former Longhorn handing off to another player from the Lone Star State? That looks to be the case with the addition of Jackson, a transfer from Texas A&M. Jackson announced he will be moving to Nebraska back in January, although he will join the program after the spring. Jackson doesn't have much experience on the field, but his addition helps plug a hole on the depth chart after Nebraska lost a pair of backs through the transfer portal this offseason. Jackson may not be the main running back for the Huskers, but expect to hear his name called as Nebraska figures it out with the running game.
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