Nebraska left tackle Nick Gates has announced that he will forgo his final year of eligibility and declare for the 2018 NFL Draft.
— Nick Gates (@nickgates77) January 2, 2018
The Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) product was a three-year starter for the Huskers, earning the right tackle spot as a redshirt freshman then switching over to left tackle as a sophomore and junior.
Gates started 26 straight games at left tackle, breaking Richie Incognito’s record at that position of 22 straight games in 2002 and 2003. Gates was an Honorable Mention All-Big Ten pick by the coaches and a Third-Team All-Big Ten selection by the media in 2016 and was an honorable mention for both the coaches and the media in 2017. Gates was also a member of both the Brook Berringer and the Tom Osborne Citizenship teams in 2016 and 2017.
Gates showed significant promise as a redshirt freshman, starting in 10 games and missing three with a high ankle sprain. He played through injuries as a sophomore but did not miss a start. This season, he was part of an offensive line that struggled mightily to both protect the passer and open up running lanes.
Listed at 6-foot-5 and 295 pounds, Gates’ future at the next level could lie at guard rather than tackle. NFLDraftScout.com currently has him rated as the 13th best guard in the 2019 class, while WalterFootball.com has him as its 15th overall tackle in 2019.
Gates’ departure leaves the Huskers with sophomore Brenden Jaimes, senior Cole Conrad and redshirt sophomore Matt Farniok as players with significant experience at tackle, although Conrad and Farniok were both moved to the interior this past season. Junior Christian Gaylord has also backed up Gates the last two seasons. Redshirt freshmen Chris Walker and Matt Sichterman could also be options at tackle.
Gates is the second Husker to declare early for the draft after quarterback Tanner Lee did so last week. The NFL Draft Combine will begin on Feb. 27 and the Draft itself is set to begin on April 26.
Jacob is in his third year with Hail Varsity covering Husker athletics. He has also written extensively for SB Nation’s Bright Side of the Sun and The Creightonian. His love of basketball can best be described as an obsession and if you need to find him, he’s probably in a gym somewhere watching, coaching or playing hoops.