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Report: Former Penn State Player Matt Rhule Working on Deal to Become Head Coach at Nebraska

Matt Rhule on the sidelines for Carolina
USA TODAY

It looks like former Penn State player Matt Rhule could be coming back to the Big Ten.

Reports say Rhule and Nebraska are working toward a deal for Rhule to become its next head football coach.

Rhule,  who played linebacker for Penn State from 1994-97 and began his coaching career there as a volunteer assistant in 1998, has since become a successful college head coach who most recently operated the NFL’s Carolina Panthers. In October, Carolina fired Rhule five games into his third season. He left Carolina with an 11-27 overall record through a little more than two seasons.

Despite his NFL run not going according to plan, Rhule has been one of the hottest names on the college coaching market. He had been linked to the Auburn job, but now its looking like he’s Big Red bound. If the deal materializes, Rhule will replace Mickey Joseph, who currently has the job on an interim basis, and become the head coach at Nebraska. He’d be the school’s first full-time head coach since Scott Frost, who got fired three games into this season. There’s plenty for Nebraska fans to like about Rhule.

Although the perception of Rhule might be a little shaky due to how his first stint in the NFL went, there’s no denying that Rhule can win at the college level. In Rhule’s first season at Temple (2013), the Owls went 2-10. In his last season (2016), they went 10-4 and won the American Athletic Conference championship. After Rhule left Temple for Baylor, the Bears went 1-11 in his first season. They went 11-3 in his last, and made it to the 2019 Big 12 championship game. Rhule knows how to turn a program around, and that’s what he’d have to do at Nebraska.

The Huskers went 16-31 in four-plus seasons under Frost and haven’t made a bowl game since 2016. Despite a 24-17 upset win at Iowa to end the year, Nebraska still finished 2022 4-8.

Rhule’s overall college record is 47-43 over seven seasons.

Sources told ESPN that the two sides hope to finish a deal within days.

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