The hits keep coming in a good way, as the Horned Frogs added yet another talented transfer Saturday night.
Joining five star LB/S Marcel Brooks in Fort Worth is former Nebraska WR, JD Spielman, a former 3* recruit out of Minnesota, who left the Huskers after three impressive seasons in Lincoln.
Rumored to be headed to the Frogs for several weeks, Spielman was waiting on a waiver request before making his final decision. It appears that ruling went the 5’9” pass-catcher’s way, as he was on campus Saturday and apparently officially a Frog by the end of the evening.
After receiving five offers out of high school, the son of Minnesota Viking’s GM Rick Spielman chose Nebraska, and was on pace to become one of the most prolific receivers in their history — already ranking in the top ten in several categories. In his first three season, he hauled in 170 catches for 2,546 yards and 15 touchdowns, and was poised to be the team leader at the position before leaving the program ahead of spring ball. Jerry Kill led the charge for Spielman, who was being recruited by a handful of programs across the country. He fills a pressing need for the Frogs, who lost #1 receiver Jalen Reagor to the NFL Draft and whose most experienced receiver in the program was junior Taye Barber, with just 29 career catches. Spielman brings a veteran presence to the WR corp, as well as the ability to make tough catches across the middle and run the majority of the route tree. He also has exceptional hands, something that seems to have been missing from the Frogs over the last few years, and can return punts and kicks — something Reagor excelled at as well.
In addition to Barber, the Frogs will be counting on veterans Tevailance Hunt and John Stephens Jr, as well as speedsters Derius Davis and Mikel Barkley. Senior Dylan Thomas will be returning from injury and TCU added a ton of talent in the class of 2020, including four-stars Quentin Johnston and Savion Williams and promising talents Blake Nowell and Caleb Medford. Tight end Pro Wells, a Mackey Award Watch List member, will also play a prominent role on the offense for sophomore quarterback Max Duggan. Al’Dontre Davis and Blair Conwright will compete for snaps this fall as well.
The scouting report on Spielman should be music to Frog fans’ ears. According to NFL Draft Network, Spielman is a tough-minded, talented player who using his high football IQ and veteran savvy to consistently make big plays.
There isn’t a team in the country who couldn’t use a player like Spielman. A fearless go-getter in the middle of the field, Spielman’s ability to attack seam and sit routes in the gaps between zones while acknowledging that he’s going to get plastered is extremely exciting. There’s a ton of veteran savvy to Spielman’s game that allows him to quickly separate against zone coverage and be available for such targets, but it’s the hand strength and quick adjustment that really shines here.
Spielman isn’t the best athlete on the field, and at his size, that’s a little concerning. He’s tasked with return duties for Nebraska because of his quickness and contact balance, but he doesn’t necessarily have the home-run speed to run away from coverage. Most of his deep plays come as the result of route concepts and spacing, not separation against man.
As such, Spielman’s best projection for the league is that of an underneath separator and slot machine, who can be used for third-down targets, schemed touches, and as a possession receiver in the intermediate middle of the field. But at the college level, there’s still enough to Spielman’s game to work him as a three-level threat, especially in a spread offense that will get him matched up against safeties that he can outrun.
Spielman leaves the Huskers with no bad blood, though his former coach was quick to point out how big of a loss the receiver would be. “He’s made a lot of plays at Nebraska,” Huskers head coach Scott Frost said. “I wish him the best. I think everybody here hopes the best for him, but in talking to him, I think both parties were pretty sure a fresh start and moving on was probably the right decision at this point.”
He will get his fresh start with the Horned Frogs, who opened fall camp Friday and look to be loaded when and if the 2020 season gets rolling this fall. Spielman will be immediately eligible for the Frogs and have one season to play.
If you want to get excited... watch a few minutes of this: