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Five key recruits that never panned out for Frost at Nebraska

Adrian Martinez
Adrian Martinez (USA Today Sports Images)

Nebraska recruited well during coach Scott Frost’s tenure as his first class finished No. 21 nationally, followed by finishes of 15, 17 and 18 in the team recruiting rankings. The Huskers finished No. 41 overall in 2022 and sit at No. 41 currently in 2023.

Along Frost’s tenure, there have been some highly-ranked players that have not panned out and reached their expected potential. Here is a look at five of them that might have doomed Frost’s tenure in Lincoln:


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Ranked as the seventh-best dual-threat quarterback and inside the Rivals100 for the 2018 class, Martinez was committed to Tennessee but when there was a coaching change there it opened the door for Nebraska. Martinez was the first offer Frost handed out upon getting the Huskers’ job and he committed in December of his senior year.

Martinez called it the “perfect fit” for the system Frost planned to run. He was the first true freshman to ever start the season as Nebraska’s quarterback. There were ups and downs but heading into his sophomore year there was tremendous optimism Martinez was the future of the Huskers and even some preliminary Heisman Trophy talk.

But Martinez was also error-prone, turned the ball over too much and whether that was playcalling, miscommunication or Martinez’s issues alone is an issue for debate. His career sort of fizzled in Lincoln and Martinez decided to transfer to Kansas State where he’s the starting quarterback now in Manhattan.



An early commitment to Kentucky, Robinson flipped to Nebraska and it was viewed as a major recruiting win for Frost and his staff since the high four-star was ranked as the sixth-best athlete and the No. 1 player in the Kentucky state rankings for the 2019 class.

Robinson had a fine two seasons at Nebraska with 91 catches for 914 yards but just three touchdowns. The four-star didn’t necessarily doom Frost’s tenure since he led the team in receiving but the passing game was so abysmal that his numbers were just average. He was also used in the run game pretty well. But Robinson wanted more, transferred to Kentucky and in one season in the SEC totaled 104 catches for 1,334 yards and seven touchdowns.

The former four-star ended up as an early second-round NFL Draft pick.



Growing up, the Bellevue (Neb.) West four-star receiver openly admitted he didn’t want to play at Nebraska but that changed when Frost landed the Huskers’ job and Betts was excited about the potential especially in the passing game. Minnesota was the other school heavily recruiting Betts through the recruiting process. The local four-star committed to Nebraska in the spring of his junior year and it was a big recruiting win since Betts was ranked No. 59 nationally and he was the top-rated player in the state of Nebraska.

But he never gained much traction. He had 12 catches for 131 yards and a touchdown one season. He had 20 catches for 286 yards in another. And then Frost announced this offseason that Betts was no longer with the program. Whether that was Betts’ doing or Frost’s or a combination of both, either way the No. 1 player in the state didn’t impact the program much after he should have.



Manning was a mid-level four-star when he committed to TCU out of high school. He was the same ranking coming out of junior college where he was ranked as the second-best JUCO player and picked Nebraska over Texas A&M, Florida, Florida State, North Carolina and others.

And in a similar circumstance as the others mentioned in this story, Manning was OK but never reached his full potential in Frost’s coaching tenure. Last season, he was third on the team with 26 catches for 380 yards and two touchdowns. After missing the season-opening loss to Northwestern this year, Manning has three catches for 24 yards against North Dakota and Georgia Southern.

As a mid-four-star prospect both in high school and junior college, more production has been expected from Manning.



By the fault of no one, Fidone injured himself prior to the 2021 season, saw limited action against Wisconsin and has not yet played this season because of the injury again. Still, Fidone could have been such a vital part of Nebraska’s offensive attack as he was such a big, athletic playmaker coming out of Council Bluffs (Iowa) Lewis Central.

Fidone was the No. 1 tight end in the 2021 class, the No. 1 player in the Iowa state rankings and the No. 36 prospect overall which put him in the conversation for a five-star ranking.