Nebraska has its starting quarterback.
Coach Scott Frost announced Thursday on the Huskers Radio Network that redshirt junior Casey Thompson, a transfer from Texas, will be the Cornhuskers starter under center when the season kicks off on Aug. 27 vs. Northwestern in Dublin, Ireland. Thompson beat redshirt freshman Chubba Purdy and sophomore Logan Smothers for the top spot on the depth chart. Frost did, however, leave the door open for Purdy or Smothers to remain part of the game plan.
"I talked to the offensive staff about it. Casey's going to be the guy," Frost said. "But we've had a lot of guys playing well at that position."
Thompson stepped in for Hudson Card in Texas' second game last season and started the final 10 games. He threw for 2,113 yards, 24 touchdowns, nine interceptions, rushed for 157 yards and scored four times on the ground. That proved to be a big factor in Frost naming Thompson the starter for the Huskers.
"There's no substitute for having played a lot of college football," Frost said. "And there's been fewer mistakes from him. It really was a big jump too from spring ball to fall and I think that thumb was probably bothering him worse than he let on. He's throwing it way better in the fall ... He threw it well in the spring but he has a lot of zip on it now."
What does this mean for Frost and Nebraska moving forward?
Thompson fits the mold
Frost has had a quarterback rush for 500 or more yards in each of his last five years as a head coach, and Thompson's skill set should fit in nicely with the Cornhuskers. He is much more than just a "willing runner," which means you should see plenty of plays specifically designed for Thompson on the ground, not just simple option calls.
More importantly, though, is the fact that he's an accomplished passer at the FBS level. He stepped into a difficult situation for Steve Sarkisian's crew last year and still found a way to not only keep the Longhorns in games, but did so with a ton of pressure on his shoulders due to the lack of defense that existed in Austin last year.
Simply put, Thompson is everything that Adrian Martinez was when he signed with Nebraska in Frost's first class. Does that mean that he will fail to progress and follow through on the hype. Of course not. It means that the foundation for success within Frost's scheme is there ... and it's up to Thompson to take it from there.
No pressure, kid
Thompson had pressure to keep up in shootouts last year, but he'll face a much different kind of pressure in 2022 ... saving his coach's job.
Frost got the job at his alma mater prior to the 2018 season with the hopes of leading the Cornhuskers back to national prominence -- the kind they enjoyed when Frost took the snaps in Lincoln from 1996-97. That hasn't happened. In fact, Frost hasn't even sniffed that kind of success. He's 15-29 overall and 10-25 in the Big Ten in four seasons at the helm, and will enter the 2022 season on one of the hottest seats in America according to CBS Sports senior writer Dennis Dodd.
Can Thompson make that happen in 2022? Maybe. The Big Ten West has some good quarterbacks including Purdue's Aidan O'Connell, Minnesota's Tanner Morgan and Wisconsin's Graham Mertz. But Thompson was a four-star prospect coming out of Newcastle (Oklahoma) High School for a reason, which should give Huskers' fans hope that this could be the year for Frost to follow through on the hype.