Lincoln, Nebraska. Population 280,000 and home to the Cornhusker faithful. Growing up in Nebraska you know the tradition, the rituals and the history behind the doors of Memorial Stadium.
You know just how important football Saturdays are. You understand and crave the excitement that comes with a win in Memorial, but worst of all, in the past few years, you understand the sadness and sorrow that comes with a loss.
The quarterback position for Nebraska is officially up for grabs, after starter Adrian Martinez transferred in December to Kansas State. Nebraska fans know that having a versatile and committed athlete in the position is a must to win in the Big Ten Conference.
Meet Oklahoma native and the Huskers’ newest quarterback transfer, Casey Thompson.
The 23-year-old, 6-foot-1-inch Thompson is the Huskers’ newest addition in the quarterback spot. Thompson joined the team after his transfer in January from Texas.
Thompson grew up in Oklahoma City. Football has always surrounded Thompson, as his father Charles Thompson and brother Kendal both played quarterback for the Oklahoma Sooners.
“I made the decision to play football when I was 4-years-old,” Thompson said. “My parents never really pushed me into playing; it was something I really wanted to do even when I was that young.”
At the age of 4, Thompson started his football journey. He said he said he played against 6-year olds and fell in love with the sport when he was young.
Growing up, Thompson said he played football, basketball, baseball and even did swimming in high school.
When Thompson didn’t play sports or study for class he traveled and spent time with friends and family and he really enjoyed going to the movies.
“While I played all these sports growing up, I really enjoyed playing basketball and football,” Thompson said. “I even wanted to play basketball in college, but football presented more opportunities.”
After high school, Thompson played quarterback at the University of Texas.
During his time at Texas, Thompson made his name known. He was also an honors student, earned a sports management degree and a minor in business, and was named academic all Big 12 during his time in Austin.
Tight end Jared Wiley was a teammate and friend to Thompson and together the duo created a force to be reckoned with.
Wiley said he, Thompson and Texas wide receiver Joshua Moore put in countless hours that nobody knew about.
“We would meet up at 5 p.m. four times a week and run routes until we couldn’t see anymore because the sun had set,” Wiley said.
At Texas, Thompson not only was a committed player, but he proved he could stand out from other quarterbacks and had the confidence to back it up.
“There is nobody in America that can tell Casey he’s not a Top five quarterback and he would believe it,” Wiley said. “He knows he’s solid and nobody can tell him otherwise. This confidence and moxie he walks around with are second to none.”
While Thompson showed the football scene his capability to find success on the field, during the 2021 season at Texas, he felt lack of communication and trust from coaches and staff was hard to play under.
With different goals and sights in mind, after his final game of 2021, Thompson said he went to work.
“Before I entered the portal I did my own research,” Thompson said. “I watched film and made a list of schools I was interested in and created a whiteboard full of information from that. I would edit my list as I did more and more research. This included names of coaches and what they brought to the table, as well as what type of offense they ran.”
Thompson entered the transfer portal on Dec.16.
Nearly 30 schools reached out to the hopeful quarterback. He said this made him feel in control and blessed with opportunities. But Thompson said he found his fit at Nebraska.
“The new coaching staff and the offense is what really brought me here,” he said. “I have known Scott Frost for years through recruiting in his time at UCF and Oregon. I grew up wanting to go to Oregon because of him.”
Thompson had only great things to say about the Nebraska coaching staff. On top of that, Mark Whipple joined the staff Dec. 8, which was a big influence and push.
During the process of trying to figure out what the best school for his next journey would be, he said his dad and brother had a lot of impact on him and his decision. Together they decided that Nebraska would be the right place at the right time.
Thompson said that the three together felt as though joining the Huskers was the whole package. From a great coaching staff to trust and good dialogue between the coaches and players, and who wouldn’t want to be playing in front of sellout crowds week after week.
On Jan. 7, Thompson officially committed to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
By Jan. 17, he moved to Lincoln.
“I had never been to Lincoln, let alone Nebraska before I packed up my things from home and moved in the day before classes started this past semester,” Thompson said.
After settling in, and getting into action both on the field and the classroom for graduate school. Thompson realized Lincoln is much different than he expected. He said it was much colder than he anticipated as well as a much bigger city with more things to do than he had thought.
Thompson said he has enjoyed his time in Lincoln so far and is ready for football season to be back.
While spring ball started on February 28, Thompson said he’s eager to get into fall camp and next season.
“So far football has been great,” he said. “It’s going as good as expected, and it was an easy transition into the program and with my teammates as well.”
Brody Belt, a running back and wide receiver at Nebraska said he has enjoyed Thompson’s presence on the field and believes he is a dangerous weapon for the team.
“Casey is affecting the team by creating a fierce competition in the quarterback room and it is making everyone better,” Belt said.
Belt said he believes that Thompson has already started to make his voice known on the team through his leadership and dedication to the program.
“He shows all the qualities of a successful leader,” Belt said. “He shows his leadership by being vocal and doing things the right way. He is always studying and watching film and the offense has started to revolve around this leadership.”
Former teammate Wiley believes the quarterback’s future is bright at Nebraska.
“He’s a great teammate and a fierce competitor,” Wiley said. “He knows there’s only one option at the end of the day and that is to win ball games and make it to the next level.”
Thompson said the ultimate goal with the Huskers is a winning season and ultimately a championship. He also said he hopes he grows as a person and player and it ultimately sets him up for future success in the NFL.
While his future plans include the hopes of an NFL career, Thompson has already started to make big impacts off the field. He said he is currently creating his Casey Thompson scholarship fund and a nonprofit organization.
“I want to help give back to the community by providing a healthy place and resources for people who are unable to have these things otherwise,” he said.
Thompson also enjoys and wants to continue to do personal training and coaching on the side.
“I’m excited to be here and ready to get on the field with these guys in front of the fans,” Thompson explained. “I want to show Nebraska fans what I have to offer and want to make them proud. We have a really special group of guys and we are going to accomplish a lot together.”
Thompson and the Huskers conclude their spring season at 1 p.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium with the spring game..