Nebraska’s longest tenured commit for the 2018 recruiting class is none other than Beatrice native Cameron Jurgens. Jurgens is coming off a tremendous junior season in which he tallied 123 tackles from his middle linebacker position, while also accounting for 400 yards and four touchdowns from his tight end position. His effort led to earning first team all-state honors at linebacker, an 8-3 record with the Orangemen and the Class B Quarterfinals. Jurgens is currently being recruited as a tight end by Nebraska, but he can also play defensive end when he gets to Lincoln.
He is currently listed as a 4-star prospect with a 93.4 rating on Hail Varsity’s composite.
Who Else Was Interested
Nebraska first began chasing Jurgens during the summer of 2015, as Jurgens dominated a Friday Night Lights camp at only 15-years-old. Jurgens didn’t wait long after the Nebraska offer to commit, joining the Nebraska class on Aug. 6, only three weeks before the start of his sophomore year of high school. Jurgens’ early commitment and loyalty to the Huskers scared off many college programs, but UCLA still made a run at the Nebraska native over the summer of 2016. The Bruins push didn’t last long, as Jurgens appears to be completely solid with Nebraska entering his senior season.
Jurgens measures in at 6-4 and 245 pounds. He has an incredible build for a kid entering his senior year of high school, as he has a powerful build with little bad weight on his frame. Jurgens has a powerfully built lower body along with wide shoulders and long arms, meaning he has plenty of room to fill out once he gets to Lincoln. When Jurgens is finished filling out, I would expect him to measure in at 6-4 and at least 260 pounds, making him the perfect size to play either in-line tight end or defensive end.
His strength/quickness combo: Simply put, kids like Jurgens don’t come around very often. He has a size and speed combination that Nebraska tight ends haven’t seen since Matt Herian was suiting up for the Huskers. While Jurgens 40 time isn’t off the charts, he has a tremendous shuttle time for a player of his size and plays extremely fast on film. This makes him a matchup nightmare from the tight end position, as he is too big for defensive backs to effectively cover and too fast for linebackers to hang with. Husker fans have been disappointed with the tight end position since the Cotton/Reed combination fell off the radar in 2011, but the presence of Jurgens gives Nebraska an athlete that the Huskers can build their tight end passing game around in the future.
His run-blocking ability: Jurgens has the potential to be a dominant run blocker in the future, as his film shows that he has all the tools. Jurgens has nice hand punch when entering contact, consistently knocking defenders off their base and driving them back to the second level. He also shows good feet in space as a blocker, staying under control and tracks defenders down before latching on them and driving linebackers into the ground. Jurgens still needs to get a bit more consistent with his hand placement and pad level at this point, but he is already an advanced blocking tight end at this point in his development and he will only get better.
His run after the catch ability: Watching Jurgens with the ball in his hands is an absolute treat because he is a violent runner that consistently gets yardage after the catch. Jurgens runs extremely low when he gets the ball in his hands and does a tremendous job of running behind his pads, forcing defenders to take on all 245 pounds of Jurgens when they go in for a tackle. Jurgens ability to consistently get yards after the catch will make him a great intermediate target in the passing game, as he will be able to consistently gets yards after the catch and move the chains.
His potential: Right now Jurgens is an incredible athlete that happens to play football; just think of how good he will be once he puts his full concentration on football. Jurgens is only going to get better as he progresses through his career at Nebraska, which is a terrifying thought when you realize that Jurgens is already a top prospect.
Settling on a position: The toughest thing about Jurgens is picking what position he’ll play at the collegiate level. Jurgens is currently being recruited to play tight end , but he could also play defensive end, outside linebacker or even offensive tackle at Nebraska. It will be important for the Nebraska coaches to figure out their plan for Jurgens and stick with it, allowing Jurgens to focus solely on that position early in his career.
His pad level/hand placement as a run blocker: Jurgens is a solid run blocker at this point just from a strength and athleticism standpoint, but he needs to refine his technique a bit if he wants to become a great blocker at the tight end position. Jurgens is a bit inconsistent with his hand placement at times and he has a tendency to miss his initial strike on defenders and allowing them to get into his chest. This forces Jurgens to fight off defenders from a less powerful position, making him a less effective blocker. Jurgens also has a tendency to play high as a run blocker, allowing defenders to get underneath him and, once again, leading to him being a less effective run blocker. This is something that Jurgens can improve on quickly, as he has shown the ability to do these things in flashes on film. He just needs to be more consistent.
Expanding his route tree: Jurgens has a pretty limited route tree at this point, seeing as he mainly ran spot passes and quick outs in Beatrice’s offense as a junior. Running only two or three routes won’t really work at the collegiate level, so Jurgens will need to work to become a more complete route runner in Lincoln. I’d specifically like to see Jurgens work on his short to intermediate pass routes and I think he can be a tremendous intermediate chain mover target in Nebraska’s offense.
I was surprised that Nebraska made the move and offered Jurgens prior to his sophomore year back in 2015. Now it looks like a genius move, as Nebraska has had a genuine top prospect to build its class around in 2018. Jurgens gives Nebraska a truly elite athlete for the tight end position, something that can help the tight end position become a genuine asset in Nebraska’s offense. Fantastic job by Tavita Thompson, who has been recruiting Jurgens for almost three years now and has been rewarded with a top prospect that is completely solid with the Huskers.
College Comparison: Michigan tight end Jake Butt
Pro Comparison: More athletic version of Baltimore Ravens tight end Nick Boyle