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Husker WR JD Spielman set to transfer after long absence from program
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Husker WR JD Spielman set to transfer after long absence from program

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Nebraska's JD Spielman (right) pushes off Northwestern's JR Pace on his way to scoring a touchdown on Oct. 13, 2018, in Evanston, Ill.

JD Spielman won't be back to play his final collegiate season at Nebraska.

The senior wide receiver is in the NCAA transfer portal as of Monday, a source confirmed to the Journal Star. 

Spielman had been away from the Husker program since the spring due to a "personal health matter," as NU head coach Scott Frost described when he announced Spielman's absence on March 2. 

Spielman, of course, is one of the most productive wide receivers in school history. The Eden Prairie, Minnesota, native is the only pass-catcher at NU to ever have three straight 800-yard receiving seasons. 

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He is third in school history in receiving yards (2,546) and catches (170). 

In 2019, Spielman accounted for major percentages of Nebraska’s passing game in 2019. His 898 receiving yards made up 35.2% of the Huskers’ total receiving yardage and 48.4% of the wide receivers’ production.

Of NU’s 67 "chunk" passing plays (15-plus yards), Spielman had 27 and no other player had more than Wan’Dale Robinson’s 10. The rest: Kanawai Noa (8), Jack Stoll (6), Mike Williams (4), Kade Warner (3), Maurice Washington (3), Austin Allen (2), Dedrick Mills (2), Wyatt Mazour (1) and Noah Vedral (1).

Spielman also recorded a return score in each of his three seasons at Nebraska. His first collegiate touch was a 99-yard kick return touchdown against Arkansas State in 2017, and he logged a punt return touchdown in each of the past two seasons.

Spielman is not a graduate transfer and already used a redshirt season in 2016, meaning he will need to obtain a waiver in order to play in 2020. There is at least some risk in trying to transfer because he is down to one year of eligibility remaining, meaning Spielman will either be granted a waiver to play or he will not play again in college football. 

The move is not fully unexpected, considering Spielman has been away from the team for more than three months. Coach Scott Frost after the 2019 regular season's conclusion said that he was looking forward to having Spielman back in the program in 2020, but then he left a couple of months later and now, formally, will look to play elsewhere. 

Spielman's departure means Nebraska will have nine scholarship wide receivers on the roster in 2020 — assuming they don't add one more via transfer — and five of them will be newcomers. 

The Huskers are also down to 13 scholarship seniors remaining on the roster and they have 79 of 85 spots filled overall, according to the Journal Star's count. 

Spielman is the third player to transfer in recent weeks, joining freshman defensive back Henry Gray, who entered the portal last week and has since committed to Florida International, and quarterback Noah Vedral, who left NU in late April and subsequently signed with Rutgers. 

14 scholarship players from Nebraska entered the transfer portal since the 2019 season ended, including three who were dismissed from the team. 

Nebraska football scholarship chart

Position 2021 Freshman 2020 Freshman RS Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
QB (3) Heinrich Haarberg Logan Smothers Adrian Martinez
RB (6) Gabe Ervin Sevion Morrison Rahmir Johnson* Markese Stepp*
Marvin Scott III
Jaquez Yant
TE (6) Thomas Fidone Chris Hickman* Austin Allen*
James Carnie Travis Vokolek*
AJ Rollins
WR (11) Latrell Neville Zavier Betts Wyatt Liewer* Omar Manning* Samori Toure*
Shawn Hardy Alante Brown Oliver Martin* Levi Falck*
Kamonte Grimes Will Nixon
T (6) Teddy Prochazka Turner Corcoran Bryce Benhart* Broc Bando*
Alex Conn Brant Banks*
G (4) Henry Lutovsky Ethan Piper* Matt Sichterman*
Michael Lynn*
C (2) Cameron Jurgens* Trent Hisxon*
DE (8) Ru'Quan Buckley Ty Robinson* Tate Wildeman* Deontre Thomas* Ben Stille*
Mosai Newsom* Casey Rogers* Chris Walker*
DT (5) Jailen Weaver Nash Hutmacher Damion Daniels*
Marquis Black Jordon Riley
OLB (7) Wynden Ho'ohuli Blaise Gunnerson Garrett Nelson Caleb Tannor JoJo Domann*
Jimari Butler Pheldarius Payne
ILB (10) Randolph Kpai Nick Henrich* Luke Reimer Eteva Mauga-Clements Will Honas*
Mikai Gbayor Garrett Snodgrass* Chris Kolarevic*
Seth Malcom Jackson Hannah*
S (7) Koby Bretz Isaac Gifford Myles Farmer* Marquel Dismuke*
Noa Pola-Gates* Deontai Williams*
Javin Wright*
CB (8) Marques Buford Tamon Lynum Braxton Clark* Cam Taylor-Britt
Malik Williams Quinton Newsome
Nadab Joseph*
Tyreke Johnson*
ST (2) Daniel Cerni (P) Connor Culp* (PK)
Class Total 19 16 14 11 17 8
Overall Total: 85
*Player has used redshirt
Note: 2021 & 2020 have 5 years eligibility

Contact the writer at or 402-473-7439. On Twitter @HuskerExtraPG.


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Husker football reporter

Parker joined the Journal Star as the University of Nebraska football beat writer in August 2017. He previously covered Montana State athletics for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 2012.

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