LINCOLN — It's a whirlwind courtship that ended in a verbal commitment for Nebraska's 2013 recruiting class.
The Huskers offered Arizona Western College defensive end Randy Gregory just three weeks ago. Gregory took his official visit for NU's 23-9 win over Michigan. He decommitted from Purdue earlier this week. He made his pledge to Nebraska public Thursday.
“It was perfect,” Gregory said of his visit. “It's the best situation for me.”
And there's a reason: the Huskers' rather thin depth chart at end, where only Jason Ankrah next year will return with significant playing experience. That's where the 6-foot-5, 235-pound Gregory comes in. He said Nebraska defensive line coach Rick Kaczenski sees Gregory as a hybrid similar to Eric Martin.
“They want to stand me up a little bit,” Gregory said. “They're usually in 4-3, but they'll go 3-4 a little bit and let me cover.”
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More important to NU fans: “They want me to be a premier pass rusher, and that's what I want to be,” Gregory said.
Rated anywhere from a mid-level three-star prospect by Rivals and Scout to the No. 3 junior college recruit in the nation by 247Sports, Gregory appears to fit the pass-rushing profile. In 2011, he said, he had 82 tackles, 21 tackles for loss and nine sacks for Arizona Western. In 2012, he broke his left fibula after the first game. That didn't stop Nebraska, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Missouri from coming after the Purdue commit.
Originally from Fishers, Ind. — a northeastern suburb of Indianapolis — Gregory chose to play football for the Boilermakers out of high school instead of pursuing offers to play basketball in the MAC. But as Purdue has struggled in the Big Ten this year — losing its first four league games — Gregory soured on attending there.
“It's just not the same,” he said. “It looks like it's heading in the wrong direction. Everybody knows that Coach (Danny) Hope is on the hot seat.”
Gregory visited Iowa State on Oct. 12. He was more impressed by Nebraska two weeks later, enough to wave off any potential future visits.
“I don't think anybody else can top Nebraska,” he said.
Because Gregory got hurt so early in his sophomore season, he'll be able to take a redshirt and have three years of eligibility remaining. Gregory said he plans to graduate from Arizona Western in May, though he'll aim for December.
In Nebraska's class, Gregory replaces Lincoln Southwest defensive end Christian Lacouture, who told recruiting sites in Louisiana he'd chosen to decommit from Nebraska. Lacouture has not answered texts from The World-Herald seeking comment.
NU has 14 commits in its 2013 class. Previously, recruiting coordinator Ross Els has said the Huskers would take between 20 to 25 players.
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