Nebraska's Matt Rhule prefers developing players over portal

Nebraska football coach Matt Rhule had a cautious message for fans -- and not just at Nebraska -- looking for a quick fix, especially at quarterback.

After a season in which three Cornhuskers quarterbacks made appearances in at least five games, Rhule was asked if he planned on addressing the position in the transfer portal.

"Make no mistake that a good quarterback in the portal costs, you know, a million to $1.5 million to $2 million right now, just so we're all on the same page," Rhule said Wednesday while discussing the state of the program with reporters. "Let's make sure we all understand what's happening. There are some teams that have $6 [million] or $7 million players playing for them."

Rhule, who closed out his first season with the Cornhuskers with a 5-7 record, said he was not opposed to finding players in the portal. Last year, the Huskers took quarterback Jeff Sims, who started 23 games over three years at Georgia Tech. (Sims started just two games for Nebraska this season, throwing one touchdown and six interceptions.)

But Rhule said he would prefer to find and develop his own players.

"We just kind of believe in doing things the old-school way, the hard way -- building," Rhule said.

Rhule said if he finds players in the portal, he wants them to have multiple years remaining to play and "is on caliber with the guys we have or someone who is an instant-impact upgrade, someone who can make a difference."

Sophomore Heinrich Haarberg played in 10 games this season with eight starts at quarterback, leading Nebraska to a 5-3 record, but he completed just 49% of his passes for 967 yards with seven touchdowns and seven interceptions (while rushing for 477 yards and five touchdowns). Chubba Purdy, another sophomore, appeared in six games, starting the final two, and finished with 382 passing yards, a 54.4% completion rate, two touchdowns and three interceptions. Both quarterbacks fought through injuries during the season.

"Obviously, everyone can look at the negatives and the turnovers and all those things," Rhule said. "I also see a lot of positives. I say to myself, if Chubba had played more throughout the course of the year, would he be farther along? I think Chubba has a high ceiling. Heinrich wasn't even in quarterback meetings last year [during coach Scott Frost's tenure]. He wasn't even allowed to go to meetings. So I'm really proud of him."

Rhule stressed that he thinks both players have potential to grow.

"I think with further development -- those guys have two years left -- I think they're going to be good players," Rhule said.