Nebraska football lost one of its most talented players to the transfer portal in Ajay Allen and here are three thoughts for the Huskers.
It wasn’t shocking. Guys enter the transfer portal all the time now and with the guy that recruited Allen to Nebraska football no longer on the coaching staff, it makes more sense.
However, I still had hope that he was sticking around. Thompson leaving made sense. Jeff Sims is the QB1 and I understand not wanting to risk losing that competition.
Allen was going to play next season — a lot. I’ll confess I didn’t understand why he was lower on the depth chart this spring. He was coming off an injury and that was part of it I guess. Either way, it’s a huge loss, and here are three thoughts on what it means for Nebraska football.
Nebraska lost its most talented runner
Allen didn’t have a long resume, however, he really impressed last season. Allen only gained 192 yards but he was explosive and in the Oklahoma game, he was one of the few guys that looked like he belonged on the other sideline.
It’s possible that he didn’t jive with the staff or maybe he thought he would have a better shot to start somewhere else. Regardless of the reason, Nebraska just lost its most promising running back for the future.
Gabe Ervin and Anthony Grant are solid. Grant rushed for nearly 1,000 yards last season but Allen just offered something different. The depth for the 2023 season is still fine and this puts more onus on Rahmir Johnson to be a running/receiving threat, but it’s a hit no matter how you slice it.
Running back is a huge need in 2024
With the loss of Allen, the Huskers have two running backs total signed for the 2022/2023 classes. Ervin, Grant, and Johnson are all upperclassmen. I like Emmett Johnson, I just haven’t seen enough to say he’s a sure-fire starter and it’s possible that the starting running back for Nebraska football in 2024 isn’t on the team right now.
Nathaniel Frazier would be huge. He’s a top-10 running back and has said he wants to come back to visit Nebraska football officially. We’ll see, but landing a premier back is now vital in the 2024 class. So is adding more than one. In fact, I’d say Nebraska needs 2-3 running backs now in 2024, or at least a transfer or two at some point.
If Nebraska has any scholarship room, a multi-year running back transfer this spring wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world.
The 2023 outlook doesn’t change much for Nebraska football
While I believe Allen was the most talented pure back on the Nebraska football roster, he still wasn’t going to be the starter. Not unless something changed dramatically from the spring to the fall.
Ervin will be fine, although I would like to see him produce on the field. In other words, I’m sick of the offseason hype with him. I want to see results. I’d also like to see Grant take a step forward.
If the offensive line is improved, there’s no reason he shouldn’t be able to rush for close to 1,000 yards. And Rahmir Johnson’s talent was wasted in 2022, which shouldn’t be the case this time around.
Allen was the future starter in my opinion and he likely could have had a breakout-type season in 2023, but the hit is more long-term for the Huskers and it doesn’t really impact the win projection.
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