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LINCOLN — Three months in and Samori Touré has learned at least one thing about Nebraska. His scouting report of the football program was right on.

An FCS All-American at Montana, the receiver had options before he chose to join the Huskers through the transfer portal in January. He wanted to find a place that needed him and provided an opportunity for quick playing time. He sought an offense that was run by an established quarterback and would fit his wide-ranging skill set. A chance to prove himself against Power Five defenses would be fun too.

“So far it’s been everything that I was kind of hoping for,” Touré said Monday in his first interview as a Husker. “Really smooth transition. I think it’s gone really good so far.”

Better than he expected, actually.


He anticipated it might take a full spring to build a rapport with starting QB Adrian Martinez, but he feels they’ve developed a sound chemistry already through 7-on-7s and drill work. The 6-foot-3, 190-pounder is also lining up some in the slot, which is where he began his career in Montana before a coaching change resulted in a move to the outside.

Add in the behind-the-scenes conditioning work of recent weeks, and Touré said he feels as fortunate to be with Nebraska as the Huskers are to have him.

“When I came here and saw how everybody works, it was kind of surprising to me that they haven’t been more successful over the past couple of years,” Touré said. “Everyone is doing the right thing — we’re working hard, everyone has the right mentality — so I think it’s looking up. We just gotta keep it going.”

The offseason departure of Wan’Dale Robinson sets Touré apart even more dramatically as the most accomplished receiver on the team. He hasn’t played a game since 2019 — the pandemic postponed the fall FCS season into this spring — but made that campaign count with 87 catches and 13 touchdowns while setting Montana records for catches in a season and yards in a game. He owns 155 career grabs for 2,488 yards and 20 scores over three seasons.

Once a two-star recruit from Portland, Oregon, with no scholarship offers, Touré said he has always felt the drive to prove he could play at the highest level. Having done what he could at Montana, his stop in Nebraska represents a new personal challenge and possibly a springboard into the NFL.

“The competitor in me wanted to go up against the best of the best,” Touré said.

“The competitor in me wanted to go up against the best of the best,” Samori Touré said. CHRIS MACHIAN, THE WORLD-HERALD

Others within the program have noticed. Junior cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt includes Touré among the group of “speed guys” along with Omar Manning, Alante Brown and Zavier Betts. Offensive coordinator Matt Lubick said earlier this spring the wideout has already impressed with how quickly he’s picking up the playbook and his versatility to line up anywhere on the field. He’s also big enough to make aerial plays that shorter catchers don’t.

“He can go up and attack a ball in the air,” Lubick said. “50/50 balls aren't 50/50 with him. He goes up and gets them.”

Another Nebraska receiver who transitioned from the FCS level, Levi Falck, concurred last week. Falck had a sideline view of Touré in the 2019 season opener when his South Dakota team played Montana — Touré went off for nine catches, 142 yards and a touchdown in a 31-17 win.

What stands out to Martinez in workouts with the “experienced cat” is his aggressiveness, even as one of the newest Huskers on the roster. The quarterback said it’s evident Touré wants to own a large role with the team. A Nebraska social media video of last Friday’s team scrimmage also showed someone who racked up plenty of catches and yards.

Taylor-Britt said the pass catcher could become as good as any he’s seen at Nebraska — including Stanley Morgan and JD Spielman — if his spring trend continues.

“I believe he can be there by the time this season hits,” Taylor-Britt said. “Whether it’s just working every day or just pushing each other, I honestly feel like he won’t go against another corner like me. I’m going to give him the best work I can and hope he comes out every day and gives me the best he can so he can be better. I believe he will be up there.”