Coach Scott Frost, speaking Thursday night on his radio show, said Thompson "will take the first rep" against Northwestern. Thompson, who transferred to Nebraska in January, started 10 games for Texas last season and led the Big 12 with 24 touchdown passes while passing for 2,113 yards and completing 63.2% of his attempts.
He had been competing with Chubba Purdy, a transfer from Florida State, and Logan Smothers for the top job. Frost said he "wouldn't be surprised" if more than one quarterback played this season for Nebraska. Thompson underwent surgery on his throwing thumb this summer after playing with ligament damage for much of last season.
"There's no substitute for having played a lot of college football, and there's been fewer mistakes from him," Frost said of Thompson. "It really was a big jump, too, from spring ball to fall. That thumb was probably bothering him worse than he let on. He's throwing it way better now."
Thompson will lead an offense under new coordinator Mark Whipple, who last year worked at Pitt with Heisman Trophy finalist Kenny Pickett, the only quarterback selected in the first round of the 2022 NFL draft.
"He's got a really good feel for the pocket, throws well, he's doing a really good job with our run stuff, and that was a little bit new for him," Frost said. "He's a football-savvy kid."
Frost also discussed the impact of new offensive line coach Donovan Raiola, a former NFL lineman who spent the past four seasons on staff with the Chicago Bears.
"He's coaching them hard," Frost said. "I laugh with the guys because there's about 15-20 vomits every day from offensive linemen, and it's not because they're not in shape. He's just working them hard. I think they love it. He's kind of freed them up to be aggressive, and I love how they're coming off the ball."