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Nebraska loses one player to transfer portal, another to architecture

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Congratulations, Nebraska Cornhuskers football.  You’re the latest subject of a portal post.

On his personal Twitter account Wednesday, Pernell Jefferson announced that he has decided to enter his name into the NCAA transfer database.  If he opts to leave the Nebraska Cornhuskers football team, he would do so as a graduate transfer.  2020 would be his final season of eligibility.

“First off, I’d like to thank the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for the opportunity to play football and obtain an education from this prestigious university,” the linebacker wrote. “Sometimes in life you need to move on to new opportunities.”

Jefferson was a three-star 2016 signee.  According to the Omaha World-Herald, Jefferson’s departure leaves the Huskers with eight scholarship outside linebackers.

The move by Jefferson into the portal is the second personnel paring in a week for the Nebraska Cornhuskers football roster.

Last Friday, John Raridon confirmed that he has decided to retire from the sport of football.  According to the offensive lineman, he’s leaving in order to pursue a career as an architect.

Raridon came to the Cornhuskers as a four-star member of NU’s 2016 recruiting class, rated as the No. 5 guard in the country and the No. 1 player regardless of position in the state of Iowa.  Despite that recruiting pedigree, Raridon played in just six games for the Cornhuskers.

Jefferson, incidentally, is the third Nebraska Cornhusker football player to leave the program via the portal, although the first two did so because of off-field issues.  Another two players, HERE and HERE, have been dismissed from the team since mid-November.

Nebraska and OC Troy Walters ‘mutually agreed to part ways’

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A year after significantly falling short of expectations, an offseason of change has commenced at Nebraska.

In one of the first big moves since Scott Frost took over at his alma mater, the Cornhuskers and offensive coordinator Troy Walters announced on Friday that they had ‘mutually agreed to part ways.’

“Troy has been a valued member of our coaching staff for the past four years,” Frost said in a statement. “Troy is a good mentor for his players, provides great energy on and off the field, and carries himself with a presence off the field that will be missed. I want to thank him for his work on our coaching staff, and wish him and his family all the best going forward.”

The duo first came together when Frost was hired at UCF and led a number of prolific offenses, including the undefeated 2017 team for the Knights. Walters was a finalist for the Broyles Award that same season though has not called plays for either team.

Walters had a distinguished career as a player at Stanford that included All-American honors and a Biletnikoff Award in 1999. He spent several years in the NFL before going into coaching during stops at Texas A&M, N.C. State and Colorado.

The departure of Walters could interestingly lead to a reunion between Frost and a familiar name in Mark Helfrich. The latter was head coach at Oregon when Frost was elevated to offensive coordinator for the Ducks and is in search of a job after being let go by the Chicago Bears from a similar role.

Mike Dawson returns to Nebraska as outside linebackers coach

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A familiar face has rejoined the Nebraska Cornhuskers football program.

Thursday morning, Nebraska confirmed that Scott Frost has rehired Mike Dawson as part of his 2020 coaching staff.  Specifically, Dawson will coach the Cornhuskers’ outside linebackers22.

Dawson was a part of Frost’s first NU staff in 2018 as defensive line coach.

“I am thrilled to bring Mike Dawson back to Nebraska to re-join our coaching staff,” the Nebraska Cornhuskers football head coach said in a statement. “Coach Dawson has a great history with our coaching staff and brings all of the attributes we look for in an assistant coach. He is a man of great character, has outstanding defensive acumen and knowledge of our defensive system, is a proven teacher and recruiter and relates well to his players.”

This past season, Dawson coached outside linebackers for the NFL’s New York Giants.  He was also on Frost’s staff at UCF in 2016-17, when he was also the line coach.

“I am excited to rejoin Coach Frost and the rest of the Nebraska staff in Lincoln,” Dawson said. “The opportunity to coach at a school with Nebraska’s football tradition and commitment is special. I am fired up to represent the N, and sell Husker Football and the University of Nebraska to young men around the country.

“Our family fell in love with Nebraska during our one year here. The passion of the fans and the culture Coach Frost has brought is extraordinary. We look forward to making it home again.”

Nebraska dismisses troubled RB Maurice Washington

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After waiting longer than most, Nebraska has finally washed its hands of Maurice Washington.

The Lincoln Journal-Star reported Friday that Nebraska has dismissed Maurice Washington from Scott Frost‘s football team.  An NU official subsequently confirmed that the running back is no longer a part of the program.

Subsequent to this post being published, the university issued the following statement:

The Nebraska football program announced today that running back Maurice Washington has been dismissed from the Husker team.

Washington is expected to enter the NCAA transfer portal soon.

Based on Washington’s history, it was seemingly only a matter of when, not if, the school would pull the trigger on a parting of ways.

Appearing in a Santa Clara County (Calif.) courtroom in April of last year, Washington was arraigned on a pair of charges, one a felony and the other a misdemeanor, in connection to a situation whose genesis was nearly two years ago.  In mid-February, a Santa Clara County judge signed a warrant filed a couple of days earlier that sought the arrest of the then-Nebraska running back for alleged violation of that state’s revenge-porn law. It’s alleged that Washington sent a sexually-explicit 10-second video, recorded two years prior by someone other than Washington, involving a then-15-year-old female and two other boys, neither of whom was Washington, to that same female in early March of 2018. The female has claimed she is being sexually assaulted in the video, which allegedly shows the teenager performing oral sex on one boy while another masturbates.

Washington is facing a felony count of possessing a video or photograph of a person under 18 who is engaging in or simulating sexual conduct and a misdemeanor count of posting a video or photograph of a person engaging in or simulating sexual conduct without consent, leading to the person suffering emotional distress. Washington had dated the alleged victim prior to the video being recorded.

In late July, Washington’s preliminary court appearance was pushed back to the morning of Sept. 3, after Nebraska’s opener.  That appearance had originally been scheduled for mid-June before it too was pushed back.  The September appearance was canceled and rescheduled, as was the one in mid-October.  Yet another rescheduled appearance, scheduled for Dec. 12, was pushed back to Jan. 12.

After some academic uncertainty throughout the offseason, Washington was cleared to join the Cornhuskers football team in early August of 2018. As a true freshman, and despite the off-field cloud hanging over him from the start of the season, Washington rushed for 455 yards and three touchdowns, numbers that were both good for third on the team. His 24 receptions were also third-best, while his 221 receiving yards were fourth.

In the midst of his California legal issues, Washington was cited for possession of drug paraphernalia in June of last year.

In the first seven games this season, which included a pair of half-game suspensions unrelated to the California court case, Washington ran for 298 yards and a touchdown on 50 carries. He also had 12 catches for another 162 yards and two more touchdowns.

Those would be the only stats he would record on the season as, on Oct. 21, Scott Frost announced Washington was not a part of the Cornhuskers’ plans “in the immediate future.” A couple of days later, however, the head coach left the door open for Washington’s return.

A little over two months later, though, that door was officially closed.

Clemson claims recruiting national title, with familiar contenders shaping the top 10

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The way Clemson football has been trending, it was bound to happen. On Wednesday, Clemson claimed a recruiting national championship with the nation’s top-ranked recruiting class in the Class of 2020 as the early signing period opened with a flurry. Dabo Swinney and the Tigers gobbled up plenty of top-tier talent across the board and put together the nation’s highest-rated class according to the composite rankings updated by 247 Sports.

Scanning down the top classes, there is no surprise to some of the other names pulling in top classes this year. Perennial recruiting national title contender Alabama came within two points of Clemson for the top spot in the Class of 2020 rankings, which is another way to say that the next few years look to be pretty promising for both Clemson and Alabama. How shocked are you by that?

It’s also not shocking to see the other names following the Tigers and Crimson Tide. Ohio State continues to dominate recruiting in the Big Ten with the No. 3 recruiting class. Georgia remains a strong recruiter as well at No. 4, followed by four more SEC programs; No. 5 LSU, No. 6 Texas A&M, No. 7 Auburn, and No. 8 Florida. Lincoln Riley and the Oklahoma Sooners remain the team everyone in the Big 12 is chasing, even after losing a late commitment to Alabama. The Sooners are ranked No. 9 in the class rankings. Notre Dame rounds out the top 10, edging out Texas for the 10th spot in the class rankings.

Here are the top 25 recruiting classes for the Class of 2020, as of the end of the early signing day according to 247 Sports:

  1. Clemson
  2. Alabama
  3. Ohio State
  4. Georgia
  5. LSU
  6. Texas A&M
  7. Auburn
  8. Florida
  9. Oklahoma
  10. Notre Dame
  11. Texas
  12. Michigan
  13. Penn State
  14. Washington
  15. Tennessee
  16. Oregon
  17. South Carolina
  18. Miami
  19. North Carolina
  20. Nebraska
  21. Florida State
  22. Stanford
  23. Kentucky
  24. Georgia Tech
  25. Mississippi State

It should be noted the class rankings will officially be etched in stone in February following the later signing period.