Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Edge Ochaun Mathis Declares for NFL Draft, Forgoes Another Season at Nebraska

December 09, 2022

Nebraska edge rusher Ochaun Mathis will forgo a final year of eligibility and instead enter the NFL Draft pool.

Mathis, the TCU transfer, announced his news on social media Friday, days after he tweeted his feelings leaned towards the draft.

“I will start by showing my love and appreciation for the state of Nebraska and Big Red Nation for their unwavering support,” Mathis wrote in a statement. “These are truly the greatest fans in the world. I would also like to express my gratitude to the coaching staff from the state of the season for recruiting and giving me an opportunity to be part of a team that is geared towards greatness.”

Mathis thanked the coaches again, including last year’s defensive front coach Mike Dawson, last year’s defensive coordinator Bill Busch and former interim head coach Mickey Joseph for their support and coaching throughout the season. He also thanked his family and his faith, saying none of his options would be possible without them.

“This has been a long journey and I am excited for it to continue,” Mathis wrote. “With that being said, I am happy to announce I will be declaring for the 2023 NFL Draft. Thank you to all my supporters!”

Mathis played in every game during the 2022 season, starting in two. He accrued 50 total tackles, 5.0 for loss and 3.5 sacks. He came to Nebraska as the highest rated edge transfer in the portal, according to Mathis started 34 games for TCU, playing in 38 during his time in Fort Worth. Accumulatively, he tallied 185 tackles during his college career with 31 TFLs and 16 sacks.

Mathis was a 3-star recruit out of Manor, Texas, in the 2018 recruiting class when he committed to TCU. Nebraska did not recruit him out of high school but sought him in the transfer portal in the offseason. He was the third-leading edge for the Huskers this season behind team captains Caleb Tannor and Garrett Nelson.

Draft experts list him as a rising prospect. He runs a confirmed 4.70 40 and some of his evasive moves on the line are NFL-ready. Experts pointed to his body control, lateral quickness and attack at the snap as positives for him going forward. His critics, however, say he needs to improve his hands to shed blocks and build more strength in his core and legs. Experts also cited those improvements in order for Mathis to increase his presence stopping the run at the next level. Draft boards at this point have him anywhere between 20-37 for his position and a third-day draft pick with a sixth-round projection being most common.

It’s not immediately known if Mathis will participate in Nebraska’s Pro Day in the spring or in the NFL Combine. He is the second Husker to declare for the NFL Draft this offseason, following receiver Trey Palmer. Palmer, also one-year Nebraska arrival through the transfer portal, announced his intentions to enter the NFL Draft the day after Nebraska’s season ended. It is not immediately known if Mathis has signed an agent ahead of the draft process.

Mathis’ decision also comes the same day that Nebraska confirmed the arrival of defensive coordinator Tony White from Syracuse. White is a defensive disciple of Rocky Long and implements a 3-3-5 base defense.

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