Nebraska quarterback Tanner Lee did not return with the team when the Huskers resumed play in the second half against Minnesota on Saturday. Husker Sports Network reports he is “ill,” and the team announced he will not return.
Lee suffered an “impact migraine,” Nebraska said after the game.
Patrick O’Brien came on in relief of Lee for Nebraska’s first drive of the second half with the Huskers trailing 30-14. Get to know Nebraska’s backup QB:
What to know about Patrick O’Brien
1. Patrick O’Brien was a highly touted recruit in the Class of 2016
From San Juan Hills, Calif., O’Brien was a 4-star recruit and the No. 10 pro-style quarterback in his recruiting class, per the 247Sports composite rankings. He received offers from Texas Tech, Colorado, UNLV and other FBS schools but chose Nebraska.
2. Though Patrick O’Brien is a pocket passer, he also can run a little bit
O’Brien’s strength is his arm, but he also knows how to use his legs. He topped 70 yards rushing four times in 11 games as a high school senior, including 118 yards in one of those contests. Overall, he rushed for 626 yards and 8 touchdowns on the season. O’Brien is no Michael Vick or anything, but he won’t be afraid to move around in the backfield.
3. Patrick O’Brien lost a highly competitive quarterback competition this spring
Despite zero college experience, O’Brien was a candidate for Nebraska’s starting quarterback job through spring practice, until coach Mike Riley finally bestowed the job on the more seasoned Lee, who had transferred from Tulane.
“Patrick had a great spring,” Riley said of O’Brien, according to The Omaha World-Herald. “He competed like crazy. I’m really proud of him. The best thing would be if Patrick takes this and understands he’s one play away from playing in the games. He’s going to be ready. He’s going to compete.”
4. Patrick O’Brien assumed the backup role without complaint
After losing the starting job to Lee in April, O’Brien didn’t publicly sulk. Instead, he said all the right things and worked hard to beat out freshman Tristan Gebbia for the backup role, understanding how important it was that he be ready to play.
“Nothing really changes in the way I prepare — I prepare to be the starter,” O’Brien told the World-Herald. “I could go in any time. That’s just my mentality.”
5. Patrick O’Brien could be Nebraska’s quarterback of the future
If O’Brien isn’t already cemented as the starting quarterback by the time Lee graduates after next season, he’ll have a strong chance to win the job then. O’Brien’s chief competition for reps in 2019 and 2020 will be Gebbia, a fellow 4-star recruit who is a freshman. Given that O’Brien is older and will be more experienced, he is likely the favorite to run the Cornhuskers soon.