Nebraska is still very much in the process of sorting out its 2022 quarterback room, but offensive coordinator Mark Whipple now has a target in the next class, too.
The Huskers on Friday offered a scholarship to 2023 quarterback Avery Johnson from Maize, Kansas.
Johnson, listed at 6-foot-2 and 180 pounds, is one of the top-rated quarterbacks in the Midwest for the 2023 cycle. 247Sports considers him the No. 154 prospect overall in the class and the 247Sports Composite also has him rated as a four-star prospect, while Rivals has him as a three-star but the No. 5-rated dual-threat quarterback in the nation.
Maize, which is just outside of Wichita, is just a four-hour drive from Lincoln.
NU's quarterback recruiting efforts for 2023 started to change even before Mario Verduzco was one of four offensive coaches fired in November.
Originally, the Huskers put almost all of their emphasis on recruiting Reese Mooney out of Louisiana. As the fall went on, though, that became less of a sure thing and Mooney also suffered a major leg injury that ended his junior season. NU had other offers out, including to three-star J.J. Kohl out of Iowa.
Johnson has reported offers from nearly 20 schools, including Big Ten West foes such as Wisconsin and Minnesota; SEC schools such as Auburn, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee; Notre Dame and others.
As a junior, Johnson completed 56% of his passes and threw for 2,550 yards and 20 touchdowns against six interceptions. He also rushed for 1,080 yards and 22 more scores, according to his Hudl profile.
NU has Texas transfer Casey Thompson committed. He was set to arrive on campus Friday and has up to two years of eligibility remaining. The Huskers are also hosting Florida State transfer Chubba Purdy (four years remaining) on an official visit this weekend. If he commits, he could be in the fold in a matter of days.
The Huskers also return sophomore Logan Smothers and redshirt freshman Heinrich Haarberg, and added 2022 three-star prospect Richard Torres, too.
Johnson wasn't the only Wichita-area player to land an offer on Friday, either. NU special teams coordinator Bill Busch, who visited Johnson, also offered three-star 2023 running back Dylan Edwards out of Derby, Kansas.
Edwards (5-9, 170 pounds) was the Gatorade Player of the Year in Kansas this fall after racking up 2,603 yards (12.5 per carry) and 42 total touchdowns as a junior.
Joseph working in-state: While Busch was in Kansas, new wide receivers coach Mickey Joseph was closer to home making the in-state rounds and seeing a few recruits.
Joseph checked in on Lincoln East 2023 four-star prospect Malachi Coleman, for example, and also Lincoln High's Beni Ngoyi.
"He said that I’m a priority and that he’s going to recruit me hard," Coleman, a 6-foot-5 standout who could end up playing either wide receiver or rushing the passer in college, said.
Coleman is rated the No. 147 overall player in the country for the 2023 class by 247Sports and is considered by that service as the best college prospect in the state. Rivals has him currently rated as a three-star and the second-best player in the state for his class behind Lincoln Southeast offensive lineman and Nebraska verbal pledge Gunnar Gottula.