Last season, Nebraska had 2,508 yards on the ground, an average of 209 per game. So to say that the rushing attack for Nebraska is important is an understatement. Nebraska was paced on the ground by Devine Ozigbo, who had 1,082 yards and 12 touchdowns, but with his graduation, the Huskers will be looking for a new every-down back to set the tone. There isn’t a ton of production returning for the Big Red, but there are some more than capable athletes.
The first player for the Huskers that has a chance to make a major impact out of the backfield is sophomore Maurice Washington. Washington’s future is in doubt with the pending legal issues he has right now, but if he is able to go, watch for him to be the go-to-guy. Washington was a full participant on Wednesday, March 27th and he is looking bigger as last year he was a bit of a twig on the field. Washington had a solid freshman campaign with 455 yards rushing and three touchdowns. He also posted a 5.9 yard per carry average. Washinton also showed a great ability to catch the ball out of the backfield as he had 24 receptions for 221 yards and a score. Washington’s different skill sets allow Nebraska’s offense to do a variety of things.
Following Maurice Washington, there are a lot of questions. But, it looks like the other running back that could make a major difference is JUCO transfer, Dedrick Mills. Mills played his freshman year at Georgia Tech and had quite the year with 784 yards, 13 touchdowns, on a 5.1 yard per carry average. He then transferred to Garden City Community College and showed that he is a highlight reel waiting to happen as he had 1,358 yards and 19 touchdowns. Mills will look to help fill the void of Ozigbo and he has a lot of the tools needed to do so. He has solid speed but his strength is what is so impressive. He bounces off of tacklers with ease and fights through piles very well. The 5’11, 215 pound running back will have two years of eligibility.
Miles Jones, who will be a redshirt freshman, will be another player that could see the field a lot this season. Jones had one carry for five yards last season but with the new redshirt rules, he still has those four years of eligibility left. Jones could be used in a variety of ways as he is quick as lightning catches the ball fairly well.
Other potential athletes that could see the field at the running back position are senior Wyatt Mazour, he had 11 carries for 76 yards and a score, sophomore Jaylin Bradley, and potentially a couple of true freshman Rahmir Johnson and Ronald Thompkins with the redshirt rules allowing players to see four games worth of action.
Even though there is a touch of uncertainty as to who will be getting the bulk of the carries but it looks like Scott Frost has some great options.