Running back Markese Stepp has officially landed at the University of Nebraska. The former USC Trojan made his announcement on Tuesday, January 12.
Stepp entered the NCAA Transfer Portal on December 28, following a short six game season with the Pac-12 south division champions. Although Stepp contributed this season on the field, he only had 45 carries on the season compared to Stephen Carr who ran the ball 46 times and Vavae Malepeai who led the team with 54 carries.
Stepp finished 2020 with 165 yards which was good for 3.67 yards per carry and three touchdowns. He ends his USC career with 100 carries for 505 yards and six touchdowns.
There was some speculation over the sophomore running back landing in the Big Ten. Just days after the former Troy RB entered the transfer portal Wisconsin wide receiver Markus Allen sent a tweet citing, "Hey @markese_stepp come be a badger..."
All season long Clay Helton praised the explosive back citing that he was on the brink of becoming 'explosive' and a star. However, injuries created persistent road blocks for the young player.
In 2018, he suffered a concussion and played less than four games allowing him to redshirt. The following year, Stepp began to emerge as the No. 1 back before he got injured. He only played in seven games due to a sprained ankle which forced him to miss the remainder of the 2019 season.
Stepp returned in 2020 as the lead rusher for USC's first two games with 135 yards and two touchdowns, however, injury struck again as he acquired a pectoral strain which forced him to miss the Utah matchup.
Although Stepp played the rest of the season, he only saw five carries against Washington State and one against UCLA. In his place, Vavae Malepeai began to emerge as the lead back for the remainder of the season.
If Stepp can remain healthy, he will undoubtedly be a serious offensive weapon for the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Although Stepp has not explicitly discussed the reasoning behind his motives to transfer out of USC, we have to assume it's due to the way Graham Harrell runs his offense.
The Trojans ended their 2020 season with 1,916 yards passing and 584 yards rushing.
In Nebraska's eight games this season, they finished with 1,521 yards passing and 1,611 yards rushing. To add, their leading rusher Dedrick Mills is a senior and could leave for the NFL Draft this year. If he does, this could open up a spot for Stepp to come in and make an immediate impact.
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