Coach: Troy Walters
Troy Walters coaches Wide Receivers for Nebraska as well as being the offensive coordinator. Walters was a Broyles Award Finalist in 2017. The Broyles Award goes to the top assistant coach in the nation each year.
Walters spent his college playing days at Stanford from 1996-1999. He was a first-team All-America selection and won the Fred Biletnikoff Award his senior season. He remains the Cardinal’s all-time leader in carerer receptions and receiving yardage. He was drafted into the NFL by the Minnesota Vikings and spent 2000-2001 in Minneapolis. He played with the Colts (2002-2005), Cardinals (2006) and Lions (2007), a NFL career spanning eight seasons.
He is in his 11th year as an assistant coach. He’s had a pretty damned good playing and coaching career to this point. Add a Big Ten title to his resume and he’ll be off to be a head coach somewhere. (He doesn’t really need the title to become a head coach, but it’d be nice if he got one before he left as he’s clearly an up and comer.)
Cole Ashby is in his second year as the graduate manager for wide Receivers.
So Who Makes Up The Wide Receivers Group?
Here’s the entire current roster of wide receivers for 2019:
Expected Contributors for 2019
Nebraska passed for a total of 2,966 yards in 2018. 2,123 of which were to wide receivers. 1,045 yards of receiver production return for this season. The obvious big loss was Stanley Morgan, Jr., while JD Spielman is the best returning receiver with 66 receptions for 818 yards and eight touchdowns.
Other than Spielman, a proven player... there is a lot of potential. We say that because there isn’t anyone in particular who stands out, but we’re hopeful for a good season from the wide receiver group. We also say that because our beloved quarterback Adrian Martinez is an accurate passer and we can’t help but think of an Aaron Rodgers-type quarterback who is so accurate he makes even average receivers look like superstars.
Sophomore Kade Warner made some waves last season with 17 catches for 95 yards. Senior Mike Williams had 12 receptions for 122 yards. Those are the only two returning receivers with double-digit receptions, unless you count Cal grad transfer Kanawai Noa, who comes to Nebraska after a decent career for the Bears where he’s had 96 catches for 1,267 yards and six touchdowns. Noa had 30 receptions for 369 yards and two touchdowns in 2018.
Jaron Woodyard, Williams and Noa are the only senior wide receivers on the roster. Woodyard came to Nebraska from Arizona Western Community College and has yet to make much of an impact.
Of course the big talk this spring has been about Wan’Dale Robinson. Four-star recruit Wan’Dale Robinson, the Kentucky kid that was recruited by everyone, including Alabama. Like a backup quarterback who has yet to see the field, he can do it all. Here’s to hoping he’s the next Rondale Moore or even Tyler Johnson, that guy out of Minnesota who had 1,100 yards and 12 touchdowns on 78 catches last season.
Then you’ve got Javeon McQuitty, who came in as a highly prized recruit but hasn’t done much in the reception department. He spent 2018 without a catch and playing on special teams. Can he contribute to the wide receivers’ group success this season?
There’s true freshmen Andre Hunt and Jamie Nance who will figure to play a role, but how much and where are yet to be determined (thanks Captain Obvious to that line as they are true freshmen they’ve yet to play a down on the field). Hunt and Nance are speedy, as is Demariyon Houston.
Who’s realistically going to contribute?
By now we know that Frost likes to spread the ball around. Note this article from 2017 about Frost’s time at UCF:
Sixteen players have caught passes, more than Washington State or any of the country’s other eight most passing-friendly offenses. And 13 Knights have carries, a longer list than even Georgia Tech’s.
16 players catching passes?
There are 19 current wide receivers on the roster. Here’s to hoping we see another season of Martinez spreading the ball around, Frost confusing defenses, and Nebraska scoring 50 points in nearly every game.
Outlook for 2019
It’s anyone’s guess.
Again, it’s about POTENTIAL. That’s what we say when we have a bunch of young players who haven’t seen the field because it makes everyone feel good about the season ahead.
One thing to note - in the past, we were happy if we had two or three guys (at most) that were pretty decent receivers. It was seen as a sign that our passing offense might actually help the run game. Now we have a GOB of wide receivers with the POTENTIAL to be very good, to be playmakers and contribute to scoring tons of points in the passing game.
That’s exciting. And fine with me. I’m okay with us wing-zinging the ball all over. That’s the goal, right?
GETTING THE BALL SPEED IN SPACE.
2019 - AIR NEBRASKA!
Bring it on.