Husker Football: The Battle For Nebraska’s Backup QB


It’s been well documented that Husker football quarterback Tommy Armstrong will take the field on August 30 as the starter, but who will be second in command? Johnny Stanton was thought to be the clear-cut backup and did nothing to lose that status. However, earlier this spring, Ryker Fyfe‘s name started to pop up.

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Fyfe, a walk-on redshirt sophomore out of Grand Island, NE was never expected to make an impact on the field. Don’t tell that to him, though. He doesn’t lack the confidence of a starting quarterback.

"“I knew this was the spring I had to make some noise. Obviously, you want the scholarship.You don’t want to pay for school. I knew coming in that this was the spring I really had to prove myself and give it a shot. Tommy’s been No. 1 for a while, but you’ve got to just keep competing.”"

Ideally, both backups will only see the field during mop-up duty this season, but as fans saw last year, you never know when someone could go down.

Both players have their strengths and weaknesses, and neither are ready to be a starting quarterback. With that said, here are the cases for both to get the backup job.

Johnny Stanton

Ever since he stepped onto campus, Stanton has been viewed as the future of Husker football. He has the intangibles, size, speed and a real swagger about him. Stanton was a highly touted quarterback recruit as he competed in the prestigious Elite 11 competition against the likes of Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg and Florida State’s Jameis Winston.

His freak athleticism was shown by his 34 inch vertical and 4.79 second 40-yard dash. The Rancho Santa Margarita, CA native has been compared to Tim Tebow not only due to his skills, but his size.

Tebow stood at 6’3″ and tipped the scales at 235 pounds at the NFL combine. Coming into his redshirt sophomore season, Stanton stands 6’2″ and weighs in at 225 pounds.

At the Elite 11 camp, Stanton earned the nickname “Johnny Tebow” for his style of play. While Stanton does have the best chance at winning the backup job, getting the gig won’t be without competition.

Ryker Fyfe

Fyfe was a relative unknown when the offseason began. After the Red-White Spring Game, that all changed. He showed off his refined passing skills and surprising athleticism completing nine of his 12 passes for 89 yards and a touchdown along with taking five carries for 44 yards on the ground.

He also has something that Stanton doesn’t. It’s not a measurable statistic, but it can be a great motivating force. He has a chip on his shoulder and realizes that he will be given nothing. Fyfe didn’t have many offers coming out of high school and no big time schools were interested at all.

Ideally, both backups will only see the field during mop-up duty this season, but as fans saw last year, you never know when someone could go down.

Instead of taking a scholarship at a smaller school, Fyfe decided to walk on at Nebraska. That decision may pay off, as it looks like he could earn a scholarship from the team he has always dreamed of playing for.

Unfortunately, neither are ready to lead this Nebraska offense just yet. If I had to lean one way or another, I would give Stanton the nod over Fyfe. My reasoning is pretty clear: Stanton has a much more refined game than Fyfe now.

Stanton is far more athletic and has more big play potential. While Fyfe is a better passer, he lacks the flash that Stanton has. Either way, Bo Pelini is in a good spot about his backup quarterbacks. No. 5 may be the favorite to back up Armstrong, but No. 17 will make him earn it every week.

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