Nebraska Recruiting: Where Do Centers Come From?
Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Nebraska Recruiting: Where Do Centers Come From?

September 05, 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.

We have talked a lot about center play over the course of this week.  I thought the most intriguing storylines of 2019 was how the center position would shake out. Yet, if you had told me that after Nebraska’s first game there would be so many words devoted to center situation, I wouldn’t have believed you. 

Cam Jurgens had a tough day last Saturday. Of Jurgens’ 51 snaps against South Alabama just 26 were on the money and 14 of the 51 snaps were high. Despite the concern, Coach Scott Frost threw cold water on the idea that he’s lost any faith in Jurgens. 

“Cam actually played well, I thought he blocked pretty well,” Frost said following Thursday’s practice. “[Snapping] has been a lot better this week, we’ve still got to see it in a game, but I’ve got a ton of faith in Cam Jurgens. He’s not only a great athlete, he’s got a little nasty in him. He’s a Nebraska kid that’s as tough as most of the guys on the team and he plays that way. I’m excited about him going forward.”

I have gotten the question (or demand) about Nebraska needing to recruit more “pure centers” out of high school. So, I set out on the mission to answer the question: where do centers come from? The majority of college football teams are recruiting offensive linemen that play other spots in high school. Once they arrive on campus, they’re moved to center:

  • Wisconsin: Tyler Biadasz listed as defensive lineman 
  • Michigan: Cesar Ruiz listed as center
  • Illinois: Doug Kramer listed as guard
  • Indiana: Hunter Littlejohn listed as guard
  • Northwestern: Jared Thomas listed as guard
  • Maryland: Johnny Jordan listed as center 
  • UCF: Jordan Johnson listed as guard
  • MSU: Matt Allen listed as center
  • Rutgers: Mike Miaetti listed as center
  • Penn State: Michel Menet listed as guard

That’s the list of Rimington watch list centers from the Big Ten and Central Florida. Only four owere listed as centers coming out of high school. If you want Nebraska to recruit a blue-chip center out of high school, it’s going to be tough just based on numbers. There are four centers in 247Sports' top 150 for 2020. They're headed to Georgia, Ohio State, Notre Dame and Stanford. The next center doesn’t appear until you get outside of the top 500. 

All of the centers on Nebraska’s roster that were in the mix to play are young. Jurgens and Farniok are redshirt freshmen. Ethan Piper is a true freshman. For this season, developing the centers on the roster was going to be the best option. Because of that you have to live with growing pains.

You especially live with those growing pains if you feel (like Frost does) that the offense will be special with Jurgens as the maestro. He has another opportunity against Colorado to prove that he can be the guy.

Recruit Watch

>> The Huskers have a new 2021 offer out in Alabama to defender Trinity Bell. 

>> Wide receiver Javion Hester committed to Missouri on Thursday.

>> Recent outside linebacker visitor from 2021 Collin Oliver was wished good luck this weekend by Nebraska.

>> Priority 2021 outside linebacker target TJ Bollers picked up an offer from Washington.

>> Top junior college wide receiver target Omar Manning picked up an offer from Boise State on Thursday.


>> Nebraska has a decision to make at kicker. See what else Frost talked about in his Thursday press conference.

>> Take a look at Colorado’s recruiting class (Premium) in a new weekly feature.  

 >> Brandon Vogel discusses a first in the Martinez Era (Premium) and the challenge it provides.

>> Tom’s Time is back to discuss appealed suspensions and a matchup with Florida State.

>> More reps are key to keeping things “blue” (Premium) for Nebraska’s offensive line.

>> Quarterback coach Mario Verduzco says he has to be better too, writes Derek Peterson. (Premium)

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