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Nebraska Recruiting: Is a Third Running Back Needed For Class of 2020?

October 21, 2019

Recruiting never stops and it's easy to miss the top stories day-to-day. Recruiting analyst Greg Smith recaps all things Nebraska recruiting news, analysis and more so you never miss a thing.

Depth in football can be a tricky situation. It can be taken away quickly with injuries, suspensions or graduation. It can be bolstered with recruiting and transfers. Nebraska has seen all sides of this during the Scott Frost Era. 

Thinking back to last season, who can forget the sudden departure of Greg Bell? The highly-touted junior college transfer started his season as a starter, only to quit the team halfway through the season. That paved the way for senior running back Devine Ozigbo to break out. Ozigbo ended the season with 1,082 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns. Ozigbo, Maurice Washington and Adrian Martinez made the Huskers’ running game a strength last season. 

The spring was then a bit odd coming into the 2019 season. The Huskers were awaiting the arrival of Dedrick Mills, Rahmir Johnson and Ronald Thompkins. Washington was limited due to a pending court case. It was a huge spring ball opportunity for Brody Belt, Jaylin Bradley and Wyatt Mazour and a chance to make a move before the other guys arrived in the summer. 

That group, once they were all together, was going to put the position on solid footing. 

The story on the field is still unfolding but things are hazy at the moment. Thompkins had an unfortunate setback and injured his knee. Bradley hasn’t quite taken the steps forwards yet that many hoped he would. Mazour has been banged up most of the season. Washington is currently not with the team and is not “in the Huskers’ plans for the immediate future” according to Frost on Monday. 

Mills has been steadily improving during the season. The team hoped to preserve Johnson’s redshirt before this week. Where does that all leave the outlook at running back for next season?

Nebraska will currently return just two scholarship contributors from this season: Mills and Johnson. Sevion Morrison and Marvin Scott III are in the current recruiting class. Both players are enjoying excellent senior seasons while preparing to join the team. Should the Huskers look to add a third running back to the recruiting class? 

It would be pretty interesting to consider. Mills, Johnson, Morrison and Scott could produce a good season rushing the football. Add in the quarterback run game and you can envision a good rushing attack in 2020. But, you would be counting on at least one true freshman to play a significant role in your running back rotation. The question looms if Thompkins can give Nebraska much next season. It makes sense to take things slowly while he recovers from injury. 

Would a junior college running back make sense as an addition for the 2020 class? Someone who could bridge the gap between the young players with promise could make sense. Adding some experience to the room next year wouldn’t hurt. 

The numbers are tight for this class but the situation is worth monitoring. The running back room isn't all doom and gloom moving forward. There are now questions that need to be considered.

Recruit Watch

>> Alabama commit and recent official visitor Jackson Bratton appears to be all in with the Tide now. 

>> Millard South standout athlete TJ Urban will be on the sidelines for the game this weekend against Indiana. 


>> Derek Peterson’s Monday column looked back on season expectations, bold predictions and a lot of misses. 

>> Husker volleyball freshman Madi Kubik earned a pair of honors on Monday.

>> Scott Frost talked about Maurice Washington, alternate uniforms and more during his Monday press conference. 

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