Kicker Connor Culp is reportedly transferring from LSU to Nebraska and will be immediately eligible because he qualifies as a graduate transfer. Sam McKewon of the Omaha World-Herald reported the news Friday morning, as the Cornhuskers continue to shore up what was one of the worst special teams units in college football in 2019.
Culp was the starting kicker for the Tigers as a redshirt freshman but lost the job the following season. LSU used eventual second-team All-American kicker Cole Tracy and true freshman Cade York in 2018 and 2019 as its starters so Culp has spent the last two seasons as the backup. In his only campaign as the starter, he hit 11 of 16 field-goal attempts and 20 of 23 extra points. His longest kick of the season was a 47-yard field goal. Interestingly, Culp was more accurate on field goals of 30 or more yards – nine of 12 made – than he was from a shorter distance, as he made just two of four attempts from less than 30 yards out.
Nebraska’s latest addition will make what’s already a pretty large contingent of special teams players even bigger. Culp joins Chase Contreraz, Tyler Crawford, and Gabe Heins, three placekickers already on the Huskers roster. Contreraz is also a transfer to the Huskers by way of Iowa Western Junior College.
Transferring Culp in is just the latest in a series of moves that includes changing up the coaching staff alignment, as Nebraska head coach Scott Frost looks to improve the school’s special teams. NU finished ranked 120th in the country last year in unit efficiency, according to ESPN‘s Football Power Index (FPI) ratings. Minnesota and Arizona were the only Power 5 conference schools rated worse.
The special teams units have been a thorn in Frost’s side since he arrived in Lincoln from the University of Central Florida. In the Nebraska native’s first year at the helm, the group ranked 67th in the country in the same FPI ratings, which was a precipitous drop from its No. 14 spot in Mike Riley’s final season with the Huskers.
Last year’s ranking was the lowest of any Nebraska season, going back to 2005 when ESPN began tabulating the FPI. Over that period, the Huskers have finished in the Top 15 in the country six times and had the highest-rated special teams unit twice, most recently finishing number one in 2014.
With Culp bringing the total number of kickers on Nebraska‘s roster to four, analysts believe there will be an open competition for the starting slot.