The turnover on the Nebraska football team under Coach Scott Frost continues as top wideout JD Spielman has entered the transfer portal and will be the 14th scholarship player with eligibility remaining to leave the program since the end of last season. This news isn't a big surprise considering Spielman had taken a leave of absence from the team in early March to deal with a personal health matter.
Spielman is the son of son of Vikings general manager Rick Spielman and the nephew of former Ohio State and NFL star linebacker Chris Spielman
Out of Eden Prairie High School in Minnesota, JD Spielman was ranked as the No. 509 player nationally and No. 28 athlete by 247Sports. He redshirted his first season at Nebraska and was a Freshman All-American in 2017 in catching 55 passes for 830 yards and two scores. He returned a kickoff 99 yards for a score the first time he ever touched the ball in a game, and in a loss to Ohio State Spielman had the first 200-yard receiving game in school history.
The following season, he missed two games due to injury but had 66 catches for 818 yards and eight scores. Spielman had a school-record 209 receiving yards at Wisconsin. Then last year, he led Nebraska in receptions (49), receiving yards (898), receiving touchdowns (five) and all-purpose yards (1,038).
Spielman is the only player in school history with three straight 800-yard receiving seasons. He ranks third all-time at NU in receptions (170) and receiving yards (2,546). Since 2017, Spielman has had more receptions for first downs and touchdowns (102) than any other current NCAA player. Spielman also totaled 835 kickoff return yards and 216 punt return yards with three total touchdowns.
Under usual circumstances, Spielman would have to sit out next season if he transferred to another FBS program but if there were health-related issues, etc., he could get a waiver to play immediately. Already there are rumors the former Mr. Football in Minnesota will go play for PJ Fleck and the Golden Gophers. Spielman considered the University of Minnesota out of high school, and that was before Fleck got there and turned the program around.
It leaves a gaping hole with the Cornhuskers to be sure as of the eight players who gained more than 100 receiving yards last season on the team, only four are still on the roster. Wan'Dale Robinson is now the leading returning wideout. He had 40 catches for 453 yards and two scores in 2019 for the disappointing Huskers. They were considered a preseason contender in the Big Ten West but flopped with a 5-7 record (3-6 in conference).
Nebraska opens Sept. 5 at home vs. Purdue. The Huskers are +2000 on the moneyline odds at William Hill sportsbook to win the Big Ten title. They have the misfortune of facing both Ohio State (Oct. 31 in Columbus) and Penn State (Nov. 7 in Lincoln) from the Big Ten East.
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