LINCOLN — Nebraska receiver Tyjon Lindsey — one of the highest-rated signees in recent Husker recruiting classes — is transferring from the program after asking for and receiving his scholarship release this week.
An NU spokesman confirmed the news Tuesday night after the Huskers removed him from their current roster. Lindsey did not respond to a request for comment.
Because Lindsey played in only four games this season — and did not redshirt as a true freshman in 2017 — he’ll likely be able to retain his sophomore year of eligibility thanks to a new NCAA rule. It was created to help teams keep true freshmen involved in the team without burning their redshirts. Players are now using the rule to transfer in the middle of seasons, as well.
Earlier this week, Nebraska coach Scott Frost said there hadn’t been a hint of any player wanting to transfer before the Huskers’ fifth game.
“Everybody is in the boat,” Frost said.
Lindsey caught three passes for 22 yards this season and was NU’s No. 1 punt returner for the first three games until he was replaced by JD Spielman in the Huskers’ 42-28 loss to Purdue. Lindsey had a key muffed punt in the 56-10 loss to Michigan, although he wasn’t immediately benched after the mistake. The 5-foot-9, 201-pound Californian was Spielman’s backup in the hybrid slot back role, and his departure likely will mean NU taps a deeper reserve to fill that role.
A top-50 national prospect in Nebraska’s 2017 recruiting class, Lindsey arrived at NU with much fanfare after flipping to the Huskers from Big Ten powerhouse Ohio State. But he caught just 12 passes for 76 yards last season and generally looked a step slow in the Huskers’ pro-style offense. After the staff that recruited him was fired, Lindsey stayed in the program, but was hospitalized in January with rhabdomyolysis after NU’s first workout under new strength and conditioning coach Zach Duval.
Lindsey recovered from the overexertion and gained more muscle. In April, he said he loved playing in Frost’s spread, no-huddle offense.
“I’m ready to be that explosive guy that I always was when I was a younger dude,” Lindsey said. “It’s a new me, and we’ll see where it takes me.”
NU now has eight scholarship receivers, including two seniors, Bryan Reimers and Stanley Morgan.
Nebraska football’s ongoing struggle to get the most out of its highest-rated recruits
Scott Frost, your turn. Here’s betting — and, in the case of Nebraska football fans, hoping — you do better than your predecessors when it comes to the highest-rated signees in your recruiting classes.
The departure of Tyjon Lindsey this week underlined, again, that NU has struggled to get the most out many top recruits who took the Husker plunge and came to Lincoln. Since the 2011 class through 2017, NU signed 42 consensus four-star recruits, according to 247 Sports composite service.
Of those 42, 20 have left early or retired because of injuries without making a significant impact. Of those 20, five — Lindsey, Elijah Blades, Tristan Gebbia, Avery Roberts and Keyshawn Johnson Jr. — were in the 2017 class alone. Out of those 42, just one — Randy Gregory — has been first-team All-Big Ten.
In short, the guys who were supposed to be splash players at NU largely have not been. For every Jordan Westerkamp, there has been a Ryan Klachko.
Here are the 20 who left early or never arrived, along with their player ranking:
Aaron Green – No. 32
Charles Jackson – 77
Bubba Starling – 110
Tyler Moore – 132
Todd Peat – 190
Ryan Klachko – 249
Paul Thurston – 152
Jared Afalava – 308
Mohamed Seisay – 13 (JUCO)*
Seisay did finish his career at NU and technically played in 24 games, starting one. But…the guy played in the NFL despite being a deep reserve at Nebraska. The Huskers simply didn’t get out of Seisay what they could have, and, in theory, Seisay takes the place of Greg McMullen, a multi-year starter who did quit football one year early.
Adam Taylor – 252
Johnny Stanton – 290
AJ Natter – 336
Jalin Barnett – 184
Jordan Stevenson – 208
Patrick O’Brien – 209
Tyjon Lindsey – 50
Elijah Blades – 133
Avery Roberts – 184
Tristan Gebbia – 200
Keyshawn Johnson Jr. – 313
Now, for what it’s worth, a 50-percent batting average on four-star guys wouldn’t necessarily be that bad … if the upside guys had major upside. But of the other 22, only Gregory and Daimion Stafford — two JUCO signees — were selected in the NFL Draft.
That’s correct. A consensus four-star high school signee hasn’t been drafted out of Nebraska since either the 2009 class (some would call Rex Burkhead a consensus four-star, though I’m not sure he was) or the 2007 class (Niles Paul).
That’s some major whiffage.
Here are the four-star recruits signed by Bo Pelini or Mike Riley who are still in the program:
Jaevon McQuitty – No. 304
Lamar Jackson – 82
John Raridon – 120
Marquel Dismuke – 250
Matt Farniok – 322
Eric Lee – 126
Avery Anderson – 322
Tanner Farmer – 257
Jerald Foster – 321