Thompson heads to a Nebraska squad that finished 3-9 in coach Scott Frost’s fourth season at his alma mater. Painfully, the Huskers achieved the feat despite posting a positive point differential against their 11 FBS opponents, going 0-for-8 in one-score games.
Major QB room addition
Thompson wasn’t perfect with the Longhorns, but his numbers were solid for a quarterback thrust into so much chaos. Since Nebraska lost so many games due to poor management and mental errors, Thompson should add stability and professionalism to a quarterback room that hasn’t produced a 3,000-yard passer since 2017.
Nebraska has two returning scholarship quarterbacks on the roster, but rising sophomore Logan Smothers is the only one who has thrown a pass. After losing longtime starter Adrian Martinez to Kansas State, bringing in some experience was a must for Frost in yet another critical year.
The Oklahoma City native accumulated 2,113 yards passing, 157 yards rushing and 28 total touchdowns in 12 appearances after wresting the job from opening-day starter Hudson Card. Thompson cleared 300 yards passing in games against Texas Tech and No. 16 Oklahoma in his first four starts, but struggled later in the year after suffering a hand injury.
The Cornhuskers landed Thompson over Oklahoma, Auburn, Indiana and Missouri. Here are key takeaways from Thompson’s transfer decision.
Nebraska lost just one game by more than seven points in 2021 — a 26-17 home defeat to Ohio State — so the Cornhuskers aren’t far off. If Thompson can be a strong and productive addition, he can help finally turn the corner for proud program in desperate need of success.
Thompson waited patiently for his opportunity at Texas thanks to Sam Ehlinger’s lengthy run in Austin. However, coach Steve Sarkisian ultimately went with potential over experience when he started Card over Thompson at the beginning of the 2021 season. Following a brutal 5-7 effort, Sarkisian turned to the transfer portal and added former No. 1 overall recruit Quinn Ewers to the QB room. Thompson has up to two years of eligibility remaining thanks to the NCAA-granted extra year, but Ewers’ addition left Thompson without a clear path to winning the starting job again.
Nebraska presents Thompson with a truly clean slate, as well as a situation and system that should complement his skill set. Thompson was recruited to run Tom Herman’s spread offense. While Frost’s spread has some distinctions, Thompson should benefit from playing in an offense that builds on his consistently and strong intermediate passing instead of Sarkisian’s downfield attack. Make-or-break year
Frost has almost completely rebuilt his offensive room following a miserable 3-9 season, hiring former Pitt offensive coordinator Mark Whipple to the same position. Whipple is fresh off a banner year in which he coached up Heisman Trophy finalist Kenny Pickett. Additionally, Frost added former Chicago Bears assistant offensive line coach Donovan Raiola and former LSU receivers coach Mickey Joseph. Beyond Thompson, Frost tapped into the transfer portal to add former Oklahoma State starter Hunter Anthony at tackle and New Mexico State standout Isaiah Garcia-Castaneda at wide receiver. On the recruiting trail, he added touted wide receiver recruit Decoldest Crawford. The staff hopes Thompson can be the final piece to meld the new pieces with key returners like Omar Manning and Zavier Betts.
Nebraska gave Frost a rare opportunity to fix his mistakes after the worst season in Lincoln since 1957. Thompson has major pressure to bring stability to a reeling program.