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The past two weeks, we've looked at what I consider to be two of the top five Big Red Flags that need to be addressed if Nebraska is going to have a successful season this fall: QBs and RBs. Now it's the receivers' turn.

For the purposes of this overview, the receivers room will include both tight ends and wide receivers. We'll look at each group separately and I'll give an overall grade at the end of this column.

For purposes of time, we won't look at every receiver, just the ones who might be able to contribute this fall.

Note: Of the 26 total scholarship receivers (TEs and WRs) who have been signed over the past four recruiting years, only 13 remain on the Husker roster. (Cam Jurgens who is still on the team, was signed as a TE in '18, but played only one game that year at TE before switching to center in 2019.)

Tight ends

Nebraska has a long history of producing great TEs, including Jerry List, Junior Miller, Tom Banderas, Cethan Carter, Kyler Reed, Johnny Mitchell and Matt Herian.

Currently there are six scholarship TEs who are either enrolled at NU or will be by this summer. The major problem facing this group is similar to that of the RBs and QBs: They are long on potential but for the most part, short on experience.

TEs with some game experience

Austin Allen (Jr.) 6' 8" 260 lbs. from Aurora, NE. Originally a walk-on, Allen has just 160 total career receiving yards as a Husker TE. But having said that, he's the most experienced TE on the roster. With his height, Husker QBs need to find a way to get him the football. 

Chris Hickman (RFr.) (3 Stars) 6' 6" 215 lbs. from Omaha Burke High. He has played WR and TE and cut his teeth on special teams. He played in six games last year but has only one career reception for 0 yards.

Travis Vokolek (Jr.) (3 Stars) 6' 6" 260 lbs. from Springfield, MO. (Pictured above) He is a transfer from Rutgers. Last year, in his first year at Nebraska, he caught nine passes for a total of 91 yards. He's a good blocker and a good receiver.

Thomas Fidone (Fr.) (4 Stars) 6' 5" 220 lbs. from Council Bluffs, IA. Unfortunately, Fidone was injured in spring practice and is not expected to return until mid-fall. Great potential if he can return healthy.

James Carnie (Fr.) (3 Stars) 6' 5" 220 lbs. from Roca, NE. While at Norris High School, JC ran the 100, 200 and 400 meter dash in track and was the No. 3 recruit in the state of Nebraska.

AJ Rollins (Fr.) (3 Stars) 6' 6" 230 lbs. from Omaha Creighton Prep. He'll enroll in the summer. He's another Husker TE with no experience, but has good potential.

Kurt Rafdal (Jr.) 6' 7" 245 lbs. opted this spring to enter the transfer portal and will not be on the Husker roster this fall.

Based on experience, the depth chart will likely be Allen (#1), Vokolek (#2) and Chris Hickman (#3). The other three TEs listed above are pretty green and will have to earn more confidence from the coaches to see any playing time this fall. The outlook for the TEs this fall? Serviceable.

Wide receivers

The Huskers have a history of great receivers, including Johnny "The Jet" Rodgers, Niles Paul, Kenny Bell, Terrence Nunn, Irving Fryar, Jordan Westerkamp, Todd Peterson, Nate Swift, Stanley Morgan Jr. and JD Spielman. Gone are Spielman (transferred to TCU in 2020) and Wan'Dale Robinson (transferred to Kentucky this year).

WRs with some experience

Zavier Betts (Fr.) (4 Stars) 6' 2" 200 lbs. from Bellevue, NE. Last year, he played in six games, with one start. He caught 12 passes for a total of 131 yards and one TD (a 45-yarder against Penn State).

Alante Brown (Fr.) (4 Stars) 5' 11" 190 lbs. from Chicago, Ill. Brown has played at Nebraska just one year and has three catches for 41 yards. He also returned 10 kickoffs for 196 yards. Brown is a pre-engineering major.

Omar Manning (Jr.) (4 Stars) 6' 4" 225 lbs. from Lancaster, TX. Manning began his college football career at TCU, where he redshirted as a freshman. He then transferred to Kilgore Junior College where he became the #1 WR and the #2 overall JUCO recruit. At times, OM looks like a man playing with a bunch of boys. It may well be that his talent and skill levels have not peaked yet. If he can stay healthy this fall, Manning could take a lot of pressure off quarterback Adrian Martinez.

Samori Toure (Sr.) (3 Stars) 6' 3" 190 lbs. from Portland, OR. Toure transferred from Montana State to play his final year at Nebraska. He was an All-American FCS receiver who has a great deal of potential. The question is, will he be able to succeed against much better defenses he'll see in the B1G?

Oliver Martin (Jr.) (4 Stars) 6' 1" 200 lbs. from Coralville, IA. He's a very skilled receiver who played at Michigan ('17-'18) and Iowa ('19) before transferring to Nebraska in 2020. Last year, he started the last four games of the season and had five catches for 63 yards. Although he's a 4-star player, he's listed as a walk-on at Nebraska.

Levi Falck (Sr.) 6' 2" 205 lbs. walk-on from Circle Pines, Minnesota. Falck transferred last year from the University of South Dakota. He played in all eight Husker games with 13 catches for 122 yards and one TD.

Wyatt Liewer (So.) 6' 3" 195 lbs. from O'Neil, NE. Wyatt is a walk-on and has made the most of his chances at Nebraska. Last year as a freshman, he played in all eight Husker games, catching three passes for 22 yards and one TD.

(Note: WR Kade Warner (Jr.) 6' 1" 210 lbs. decided to transfer and won't be with the Huskers this fall.)

The WR corps has some good players, but outside of Manning and Toure, the talent is still in question. (Note: Neither Manning nor Toure has caught a pass in FBS football.)

The WR pecking order this fall will likely be Omar Manning (#1), Samori Toure (#2), Zavier Betts (#3), Oliver Martin (#4), Levi Falk,(#5) and Wyatt Liewer (#6).

As a group, the receiving room has potential but is really thin on Power Five experience. And because there is so much uncertainty and inexperience going into this fall, the grade for the receivers room is a C+. Key players need to emerge quickly to increase the grade.

The fading offense

Looking back at Scott Frost's first year at Nebraska, the Husker offense was the most productive of his three years at Nebraska. One of the reasons was because Frost had better players. In 2018, Nebraska had two really good receivers in Stanley Morgan Jr. (1,004 receiving yards) and JD Spielman (818 yards). And Frost also had a 1,000-yard rusher in Devine Ozigbo.

And without those players, the Husker passing game has gone from averaging 247.16 yards per game in 2018, down to 190.13 YPG in 2020. That's a decrease of more than 57 passing yards per game. And when multiplied by a 12-game schedule, that's over 684 yards for the season.

If during that same time the rushing yards had picked up the slack, that might be a good thing. Run more, pass less often. But the Huskers' running-game figures have not increased in those three years. In fact, the rushing numbers have actually dropped by almost eight yards per game.

And scoring has also decreased from 30.0 points per game in 2018 to 23.1 in 2020.

If Nebraska has any chance of a winning season and making it to a bowl game this fall, the Huskers must find a way to spike their offensive numbers.

If the Huskers don't improve their offense this year, wins are going to be in short supply.

Next week, we'll examine perhaps the greatest problem facing the Husker football this fall: Special teams and the turnover deficit.