Programs bring in JUCO transfers to fill depth on their roster, add talent that didn’t quite make it academically from a previous class or both. For Nebraska, the 2015 cycle needs to take advantage of JUCOs available for a multitude of reasons.
A critical factor in deciding who to recruit is the worst case scenario. The Huskers’ current defensive line looks solid for 2014, but what about beyond this season? Randy Gregory could very well declare for the NFL Draft, and if Vincent Valentine blows up, he could also be an early loss in short order.
We’ve seen just how effective Gregory has been, a JUCO transfer himself. Moving to the interior, JUCO transfer Joe Keels had a solid spring, but could be move to the outside for a more physical front four.
Even if he does play a DE/DT swing, at this point there’s the hope that Valentine sticks around while Aaron Curry, Kevin Williams Maliek Collins, Kevin Maurice and Peyton Newell can make major jumps. However, hope only goes so far and doesn’t account for injuries.
The currently committed Davis brothers may need to both be on the outside. Regardless, they likely won’t see time this season as the staff needs to determine just where they fit properly.
We go back to the JUCO fix. Last year, Nebraska desperately tried to get a JUCO defensive tackle, but couldn’t buy a break. The recruiting gods simply weren’t going to have it.
This year, the Huskers will likely look to Kansas’ Butler, Coffeyville and Hutchinson Community Colleges and keep an eye on Yuma, AZ’s Arizona Western College. Gregory was a product of the latter.
Iowa Western Community College has already been visited by the Cornhuskers’ staff. Nothing like having a placement center for athletes in your backyard.
Even if only for depth’s sake, Nebraska needs to follow the lead of Nick Saban and Jimbo Fisher and grab at least one or two JUCOs this cycle.
Who knows? Maybe another Gregory or Lavonte David is among their ranks.
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