Nebraska Football add sanother potential weapon to an already full running back room.
If history has taught Nebraska anything, it’s that you can never have enough of them. On Monday, Class of 2019 prospect John Bivens out of Ohio confirmed to Bryan Munson and Sean Callahan of HuskerOnline that he will join Nebraska in the fall.
Bivens comes to Nebraska as a once highly sought after 3-star recruit. He generated interest from a bevy of power five programs before tearing his MCL and PCL toward the end of his junior year at Archbishop Alter in Kettering, Ohio.
More from Husker Corner
- Nebraska Football: “No block, no rock” doesn’t fly in today’s game
- Nebraska Football: Previewing Wisconsin with Badger of Honor
- Nebraska Football: Establishing the deep ball important moving forward
- Nebraska Football: Bryce Benhart getting good reviews in opening week
- Nebraska Football: Secondary play concerning in loss to Ohio State
This injury caused him to miss his entire senior season in 2018. He had offers from USC, West Virginia, Louisville, Indiana, and Illinois, among others. Recruited by Huskers running back coach Ryan Held, Bivens will have familiarity with the campus whenever he steps foot on it this summer. He has already visited Lincoln twice, once in 2018 on an unofficial visit to watch the spring game and again in January of 2019 on an official visit as part of the class 2019.
While the injury may have derailed some of the interest on the recruiting front, Bivens’ decision to not sign with a school coming directly out of high school is primarily due to his performance in the classroom, or lack thereof according to Callahan ,
“He failed to meet all the academic requirements out of high school and did not attend a four-year college this past year.”
Depth has been an issue at the running back position ever since Maurice Washington and Nebraska parted ways. Last season, Husker fans saw Wan’Dale Robinson carry the load as a “do it all” offensive weapon lining up mostly in the backfield. With the addition of Bivens, hopefully he can step in a back-up role behind senior Running Back Dedrick Mills (barring he proves he’s ready to take over the starting job once football resumes) giving Mills a breather when needed.
The great thing about Nebraska getting Bivens is that it is a low risk-high reward type scenario. If he can prove to be even a shell of what he was coming off of his junior campaign in 2017, Nebraska’s backfield is in good shape. However, if he is unable to produce, at least the Huskers didn’t have to burn a scholarship. But after watching this kid’s film, I believe he can prove to be productive. Plus, when you’re not missing much from your arsenal, that doesn’t hurt either. According to his Hudl profile, he ran a 40-yard dash in 4.49 seconds, and when you turn the film on, it shows he is a burner. Whether he is running in between or outside the tackles, it doesn’t matter. Once that nos kicks in, it’s off to the races. He could also prove as a threat catching the ball out of the backfield. His tape shows his ability to go up and make a play on the ball. He proved useful in the screen game at times too.
One thing that excites me about him is he doesn’t shy away from contact. The use of brute force is on display in droves when you watch him. He utilized the use of the stiff arm effectively and often looked like a man amongst boys when putting it into action against attempted tacklers in the secondary. He is also not afraid to run through anybody that gets in his way, as he will lower his shoulder into a solo tackler proving them utterly useless in stopping his forward momentum. It was seldom that a single tackle would bring him down as gang tackles proved most effective. But even then, there were a handful of occasions where he would carry two or three tacklers with him as he kept his feet churning for extra yardage.
Besides those intangibles, I could envision him becoming an underrated pass and run protector in Frosts’ offense. In high school, he exhibited the ability to be an adequate lead blocker in the run game and had what seemed to be an innate ability to pick up blocking schemes. The way the Huskers utilize Martinez in the running game, Bivens could be an extra line of defense against would-be tacklers.
The upside of Bivens is remarkable. If he can return to his original form before the injury and straighten up things in the classroom, the Huskers may have just gotten a player with a massive chip on his shoulder. He could be ready to prove he still has what it takes to be the primary workhorse in the backfield.