Stanley Morgan is just like you, Nebraska fans, in at least one way this offseason.
He’s not quite sure who is going to step into the role as the Huskers’ No. 2 wide receiver alongside junior JD Spielman when the fall rolls around.
Morgan, of course, has been Spielman’s sidekick the past two years. Over the course of 2017 and 2018, the duo combined for 252 catches, 3,618 receiving yards and 27 touchdowns. Now, with Morgan graduating and moving on to prepare for May’s NFL Draft, Spielman steps to the forefront in NU’s receiving room and next in line behind him is, well, essentially a wide open race pitting several players across five years’ worth of recruiting classes.
Speaking at the Outland Trophy banquet in Omaha this week, Morgan insisted he has confidence in the group he leaves behind even if there is still much to sort out in terms of pecking order.
“These guys have talent,” Morgan said, first pointing to a pair of junior college transfers and seniors-to-be in Mike Williams and Jaron Woodyard. “The new freshmen coming in, it’s going to be a good team.”
Williams and Woodyard combined for 13 catches on 23 targets for 132 yards. Woodyard had just one catch for 10 yards on seven targets but told the Journal Star in November he felt like he learned a lot over the course of the season and is primed for a breakout campaign in 2019.
After those two? Walk-on Kade Warner, who manned the No. 3 spot at times during the season, but didn’t have a reception longer than 14 yards and finished with 17 receptions for 95, will be a sophomore. So, too, will Jaevon McQuitty, who made noise as a true freshman before suffering a season-ending injury in camp. He appeared in six games in 2018 but did not have a catch.
“He’s a worker and it wouldn’t surprise me if he had a breakout year because he’s been working,” Morgan said of McQuitty, a Columbia, Missouri, native. “Unfortunately he’s had some tough battles off the field, but I’m not worried about him.”
Andre Hunt will be a redshirt freshman — he appeared in two games, traveled with the team all season on the road and didn’t have a catch — while Jamie Nance, Darien Chase and Wandale Robinson join the program as incoming freshmen. Nance and Robinson are already on campus for winter conditioning and spring ball. Not only that, but NU might not be done adding. They’re hosting four-star prospects Charles Njoku (Wayne, New Jersey) and De’Mariyon Houston (Oklahoma City) on official visits this weekend and next, respectively.
Without a doubt, Spielman will be the lead dog in the room. Morgan saw him start to grow into that role as the 2018 season progressed.
“Just in practice, just speaking up and being that leader that I was for the team and stepping into that role toward the end of the season, you could tell the difference and tell the growth in him,” Morgan said of Spielman.
But the young guys can always rely on the now-former Husker, too, even if he’s preparing for the NFL or, eventually, in a professional team’s camp.
“It’s a family, wideouts for life,” Morgan said. “We always talk whether it’s Snapchat, Instagram posts, whatever. It can be funny, but I leave those guys with a lot of wisdom and motivation and whatever they have to ask, they can ask me any day.”