football Edit

Fact or Fiction: Matt Rhule underperformed in his first year at Nebraska

National recruiting analyst Clint Cosgrove is joined by Greg Smith of, Tracy McDannald of and Rivals national recruiting director Adam Gorney as they tackle three topics and decide whether they are FACT or FICTION.

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1. Matt Rhule underperformed during his first year at Nebraska. 

Matt Rhule
Matt Rhule (USA Today Sports Images)

Cosgrove's take: FICTION. While I set the bar for a successful year under Matt Rhule as qualifying for a bowl game, I don't think I truly realized how devoid of talent and depth this Nebraska team was. Despite not making a bowl, I would say Rhule arguably overachieved, considering the hand he was dealt. This team won three straight Big Ten games, has some young playmakers such as Malachi Coleman, Jaylen Lloyd, Princewill Umanmielen to name a few and was a few turnovers away from massively overachieving this season. Should the Huskers stay hot on the recruiting trail, show the fight they did this season and fix the turnover problem we may see Nebraska go back to its winning ways for the first time in almost a decade.

Smith's take: FICTION. Rhule inherited a much tougher situation than many Husker fans realized. Nebraska has been a bad program for several years, and it wasn’t going to be fixed in one season. At Rhule’s previous college football stops he won two games (Temple) and one game (Baylor) in the first season. He’s ahead of schedule at Nebraska.

It has to be frustrating that Nebraska entered November at 5-3 with so much to play for only to lose the last four games of the season. That’s 100% fair. But that doesn’t mean Rhule underperformed in year one. It just means he didn’t elevate the program … yet.

For a fan base that is tired of being told to stay patient, that’s exactly what needs to happen now. Rhule has the overall program trending up but this offseason does loom large, especially at quarterback.



2. Dante Moore will enter the transfer portal.

Dante Moore
Dante Moore (

Cosgrove's take: FACT. I have thought Moore would eventually be a portal entry before he stepped on campus, and people with knowledge of his recruitment have told me the same. Despite starting as a true freshman, things got a little rocky on the field, and Moore's relationship with Chip Kelly seemed a little volatile at times. Moore will be heavily pursued if he were to make the jump, and a move would likely be extremely lucrative. Even if Moore doesn't enter this year I would be shocked if he remains at UCLA throughout his college career.

McDannald’s take: FICTION. It’s not a strong belief, but in a strange way UCLA’s reported decision to bring back Kelly should help in keeping Moore around Westwood for at least one more year.

Moore has made two things very clear since arriving in January: He loves Southern California and Kelly was the reason he flipped to UCLA after backing off his Oregon commitment. A firing would have given Moore the easy out with the ability to transfer immediately and be eligible and nobody would have held that against him.

Now, whether he likes what he’s seen with one year in Kelly’s system is tough to read. Moore, to his credit, has said all the right things and has looked inward as far as how he can improve. But there’s also the way the quarterback shuffle between himself and redshirt junior Ethan Garbers was handled by Kelly, along with the pass-protection issues along the offensive line, that could work against UCLA.

But one other thing that may swing the favor to UCLA is Kelly’s repeated insistence that Moore is an “old soul.” Giving Moore the benefit of the doubt, I’ll interpret that to mean that he won’t just take off after some first-year struggles and issues out of his control.



3. Ohio State will sign all three of its committed WRs. 

Cosgrove's take: FICTION. I believe Jeremiah Smith, Mylan Graham and Jeremiah McClellan are all solid commits in theory. But when you have an excess of talent at a position like Ohio State does at receiver and major programs are offering incentives, plus early playing time, for players like these to flip, I believe at least one is bound to defect in the end. Could all three sign with Ohio State? Absolutely. But, in today's NIL and transfer portal world, it would be an incredible feat if it were to happen.

Gorney's take: FACT. The good news for OSU is there isn’t an opening job big enough for Brian Hartline to take, and if Hartline stays in Columbus then there’s a very good chance that all three receivers are locked in – especially Graham and Smith.

The one outlier is McClellan, who could flip to Missouri or others that are involved, but I do think Hartline staying in Columbus is huge for him as well. He’d be a perfect fit among three elite receivers in this class if he stays.