College football notebook: Transfer Lee creating buzz at Nebraska
There is buzz building about Nebraska quarterback Tanner Lee, even though he's never thrown a pass for the Cornhuskers.
Lee, a transfer from Tulane, looks like a drawing from a scout's dream diary. He's 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, with a big-time arm. For sure, he's the kind of pro-style passer that is the preference of third-year Nebraska coach Mike Riley, who didn't have that with dual-threat Tommy Armstrong Jr., who never got his passing accuracy much above 50 percent.
To be fair, Lee didn't either in two seasons at Tulane. He completed 53.6 percent of his 612 passes, throwing for 3,601 yards with 23 touchdowns and 21 interceptions. But he fits the mold for Riley, who will surround Lee with better talent and has had more than a year to coach him up following his transfer.
"It's been going great," Lee said after practice this week. "I think we're doing a great job of pushing each other -- the defense pushing us and us pushing them. I think we've gotten a lot better just in these nine, 10 days we've been going at it."
Lee picked up an endorsement Friday from Phil Savage, the executive director of the Senior Bowl and a former coach, scout and executive in the NFL. Savage wrote on Twitter, "After seeing HuskerFBNation QB Tanner Lee spin it yesterday, he will be a top NFL prospect for '18 or '19. Size, arm talent, intangibles."
Nebraska went 9-4 last season after posting a 6-7 mark in Riley's debut season. Riley picked Lee as his starter soon after spring ball, going back to his offensive roots from his days at Oregon State.
This Nebraska offense will feature plenty of screens, quick passes and draw plays, rather than the quarterback run game.
"The screen game is really important. It's something we're really working on," Lee said. "It's part of the deal we want to be really good at."
--Texas junior right tackle Elijah Rodriguez, the front-runner to win a competitive camp battle, underwent surgery on an injured ankle this week and is expected to be out for "an extended period of time," the school announced late Thursday night.
Rodriguez, who has three career starts, had been working with the first team ahead of senior Tristan Nickelson (six career starts) and sophomore Denzel Okafor.
First-year Texas coach Tom Herman is still expected to have a strong offensive line featuring three returning starters, led by left tackle Connor Williams, a junior who is rated the 14th-best prospect for the 2018 draft by NFLDraftScout.com.
--Western Michigan, coming off a 13-1 season, has the top NFL prospect in the MAC -- senior left tackle Chukwuma Okorafor, who carries a second-round grade into the season, according to NFLDraftScout.com.
Another to watch is senior running back Jarvion Franklin, whose 3,639 career rushing yards are the third-most among current FBS players. He is up to 235 pounds while cutting his time in the 40 to a laser-timed 4.48 seconds.
"Speed kills, so that's just going to open up another area of the game," Franklin told mlive.com. "I wouldn't say that I'm faster, but this year, I'm just going to find more ways to utilize my speed."
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