With spring football underway, the Nebraska quarterback conversation is heating up. The Huskers will have options at the position but will ultimately let a competition decide the starting role.
The previous four-year starter at quarterback, Tommy Armstrong Jr, left a big imprint on the Nebraska Football program and will give way to one of three potential quarterbacks. Lets take a look a the credentials for each quarterback battling for a starting job.
Lee joined the Nebraska program during the summer of 2016 as a transfer from Tulane University. The new Husker will have two years of eligibility remaining during his tenure at Nebraska. Though he had to sit out a year due to NCAA transfer guidelines, Lee didn’t waste anytime on making a first impression. Lee earned Huskers’ Scout Team Offensive MVP honors during the fall.
Lee proved he had a strong-arm early on but he also brings FBS starting experience from Tulane. He started 19 games for Tulane during the 2014 and 2015 season. During his freshman season in 2014, Lee threw for nearly 2,000 yards and 12 touchdowns. In the 2015 season, Lee completed just 52% of his passes and threw 11 touchdowns.
The statistics may not jump out at you but experience is experience. Lee will have a substantial talent upgrade around him and has the opportunity to show off his experience during spring football.
O’Brien is a red shirt freshman out of San Juan Capistrano, California. The young quarterback entered the program considered a top ten quarterback in the 2016 recruiting class. Though O’Brien sat out a year, he made several road trips with the team and has had the opportunity to learn under offensive coordinator, Danny Langsdorf, for a full year.
During the 2015 season as a senior, O’Brien accumulated 3,500 all-purpose yards and 40 touchdowns for San Juan Hills High School. O’Brien also participated in the Elite 11 quarterback competition during the summer of 2015. With his knowledge of the system and a year under his belt with the Nebraska Football program, O’Brien should be a strong contender for the starting role in 2017.
Gebbia is the lone freshman quarterback from Calabasas, California. The California product enters the Nebraska Football program as one of the nation’s top quarterbacks in the 2017 recruiting class. Gebbia finished his career at Calabasas High School as the second-leading passer in California prep history. He threw for over 3,000 yards and 141 touchdowns during his tenure.
Gebbia was an early enrollee this spring and has already begun training with the team. He may not have the experience that O’Brien and Lee have out of the gate but his skill has already impressed the coaches during spring practice.
Early Spring Prediction
With spring practice underway, I feel that O’Brien and Lee have the edge thus far based on experience. I think Gebbia will be able to push both in practice based on his overall skill level but I still feel that Gebbia would benefit from having a red shirt season.
Between O’Brien and Lee, I would give the edge to O’Brien early because of his knowledge of the system and personnel. Both quarterbacks are similar with regards to arm strength and the ability to make big plays but O’Brien also has the ability to make plays out of nothing with his legs.
The Nebraska Football program has a bright future with all the three quarterbacks. Head coach, Mike Riley, will have a tough decision to make but it’s a little easier knowing that each quarterback has the potential to win you ball games.