Riley Van Poppel played in 11 games as a true freshman, missing only the opener at Minnesota. He finished with five tackles, 1.0 tackle for loss and a half sack with one quarterback hurry.
Van Poppel had a half sack at Colorado for his first career tackle. Van Poppel also recorded a solo tackle against No. 2 Michigan. He added another tackle the next week at Illinois. Van Poppel recorded a half tackle for loss against Maryland. He had the first quarterback hurry of his career at Wisconsin. Van Poppel finished his freshman season with one tackle against Iowa.
Before Nebraska (Argyle HS)
Van Poppel was one of the most coveted defensive linemen in the nation after being a dominant force for Argyle High School in Texas. Van Poppel recorded 19 sacks and 37 tackles for loss with nearly 150 career tackles in his prep career.
As a senior, Van Poppel was a unanimous choice for district defensive player of the year after totaling 80 tackles with 10 sacks and 17 tackles for loss, according to MaxPreps. He helped the Eagles to a 14-1 record and a state runner-up finish in his final season. As a junior, Van Poppel recorded 38 tackles with seven sacks and 14 TFLs. He was also on the varsity as a sophomore, when Argyle finished 16-0 and won the 2020 Class 4A Division 1 state title.
Regarded as a four-star recruit, ESPN ranked Van Poppel among the nation’s top 25 defensive linemen. He had offers from several top programs including Michigan, Florida State, TCU and Washington State.
Van Poppel is the son of Todd Van Poppel, who was a first-round pick in the 1990 Major League Baseball Draft. The elder Van Poppel pitched for 11 years in the majors, appearing in 359 games with 98 starts.