We’re looking this week at an area of need for each Big Ten team, and how the 2016 recruiting class can help. Next up is Nebraska.
Biggest need for 2016: Offensive line
Really, though, the problems on the line run deeper than graduation or a lack of proven depth. What happened to the Huskers' storied history on the offensive line? In its five years as a member of the Big Ten, Nebraska has produced just one all-conference lineman -- and just one, in fact, in the past decade.
The seniors in 2015 helped Nebraska rush for 180 yards per game and finish with a fury against UCLA. But this program needs more consistency from the front five -- and for former walk-ons Dylan Utter and Paul Thurston to serve as leaders.
Tackle Nick Gates, a breakout contributor as a redshirt freshman last season, looks like a future star. Look for classmates Jerald Foster and Tanner Farmer to challenge for contributing roles next season, along with touted 2015 signee Jalin Barnett.
How the 2016 recruiting class might help: The offensive line is a tough position group to fill as an immediate need through recruiting, unless it’s with a junior college prospect. Nebraska is trying its hardest to fill that need, though, and has done an exceptional job in the 2016 class.
The line commits are led by ESPN 300 guard John Raridon out of Iowa, who is the No. 117 ranked prospect in the country. Raridon is also the No. 6 ranked guard and should help fill the need on the interior of the line in the future.
He is joined by fellow offensive line commits Bryan Brokop and Boe Wilson, both of which are likely interior linemen as well. The staff is still targeting a few prospects, including ESPN 300 OT Matt Farniok, who is also considering Iowa and Michigan State. -- Tom VanHaaren