Photo Credit: Eric Francis

Nebraska Recruiting: Underrated Gabe Ervin in Mix at Running Back for 2021

May 05, 2021

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.


Each recruiting cycle I am asked about which true freshmen have the best chance to contribute to the program in their first year on campus. The answers do not always line up with the highest-rated recruits in the class. In the case of Nebraska’s 2021 recruiting class, tight end Thomas Fidone was on his way to providing something for Nebraska this season. An unfortunate knee injury has delayed that contribution.

Th unique thing about the Huskers’ 2021 class is that beyond Fidone, people had a hard time picking who could contribute early. One player that rose to the top of the list during spring practice is Gabe Ervin. The Georgia native was rated a three-star recruit by all the recruiting services. He had a very good high school career but didn’t appear to be a lock to be in the mix at running back this season.

How did we get to the point that Ervin was even in the mix this spring? As I talk about often, sometimes what happens with prospects once they arrive on campus is a mixture of skill, opportunity and timing. Ervin displayed a good work ethic immediately during winter conditioning. He arrived in Lincoln in good shape and well-coached by his high school coach at Buford High School.

He also had the benefit of good timing. Ervin entered the running back room as Dedrick Mills departed with no clear successor to the starting spot. There is a lot of talent in the running back group but no one stood out before Ervin got to campus.

After a strong spring it feels like Ervin is the safest bet in the room. It would be surprising at this point if he didn’t see playing time in the fall. The room is wide open right now heading into the summer as coach Scott Frost noted when asked about Sevion Morrison during his postgame press conference last Saturday.

“Same as the rest of the guys—consistency. I think you could see the flashes of it today. We keep seeing that,” Frost said. “He’s had just a little rolled ankle, but that’s tough with a running back. Gabe (Ervin Jr.) had the same thing. You saw flashes of what we expect from all those guys. We need more consistency. We need those guys to grow up fast because they’re going to have to play big-time football coming up real soon.”

To Ervin Jr’s credit he is embracing the competition this summer. He’s ready for what running backs coach Ryan Held has called a ‘Rocky IV mentality.’

“I just need to stay in shape and maintain what I did in the spring to just carry on in the fall,” Ervin Jr said.

The Huskers did a great job of identifying Ervin out of Georgia. His style of play fits what the Huskers need and he’s at a position of need. A mixture of skill, opportunity and timing has Gabe Ervin squarely in the mix to start at running back as a true freshman.

Recruit Watch

>> Chandavian Bradley, a 2022 defensive end from Missouri, was offered by Oklahoma State. He was in the stands for the spring game.

>> Arizona athlete Truitt Robinson signed his paperwork to walk-on at Nebraska.

>> CJ Carr, a 2024 quarterback from California, was offered by Nebraska. Carr is the grandson of former Michigan coach Lloyd Carr.

>> Former Husker target that signed with Wisconsin Malik Reed is transferring to Arizona.

ICYMI

>> As I wrote, the Nebraska offensive line enjoyed leading the way (Premium) through a physical spring.

>> It’s mail time on this week’s episode of the Mind Your Own podcast with Erin Sorensen and Sausha Durkan.

>> Check out our video of Will Bolt on Nebraska bouncing back in the Big Ten and Kyle Perry’s return.

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