Junior college running back Dedrick Mills commits to Huskers

Nebraska commit Dedrick Mills attended the 2018 spring game.

LINCOLN — Nebraska’s latest running back commit is “built like a Ninja Turtle.” Small waist. Big thighs. Lots of power and speed. And Garden City (Kan.) Community College running back Dedrick Mills also “oozes a love for football,” said his coach, Jeff Sims.

Pretty good combination. Sims has seen it before in the 49 players he’s sent to the NFL. He’s seen it, too, in the four players he sent to Nebraska during the Bo Pelini era — Brandon Kinnie, Jermarcus Hardrick, Lavonte David and Stanley Jean-Baptiste. David and Jean-Baptiste have had fruitful NFL careers. Sims thinks the 5-foot-10, 227-pound Mills can as well.

“The thing Dedrick has in common with Lavonte David is their love of football,” said Sims, citing perhaps Nebraska’s best player in the Big Ten era.

Those 267 rushing yards Mills had in the first game of Garden City’s season on Saturday didn’t hurt, either. That performance had schools nationwide calling Sims to inquire and offer scholarships.

Nebraska was ahead of the curve. Sims has had a long relationship with NU and even accompanied several Garden City players, including Mills, to the 2018 Husker spring game. He also has a friendship with Husker outside linebackers coach Jovan Dewitt, with whom Sims worked at Florida Atlantic under then-coach Carl Pelini. Whereas Sims has to talk to several layers of staff at other schools, he has a direct line to Dewitt. Mutual trust, too. That’s why Dewitt was able to land Mike Hughes, now in the NFL, for Central Florida in 2017.

That’s why Nebraska was close to the top for Mills, a three-star running back out of Waycross, Georgia,  who ran for 771 yards at Georgia Tech as a freshman in 2016. Mills was dismissed in 2017 for violating the Yellow Jackets’ substance abuse policy. Georgia Tech has since adjusted its policy.

Sims said Mills, who missed almost all of Garden City’s 2017 season with a broken collarbone, deserves a “second chance.” Nebraska’s giving it and, in return, getting a running back with NFL potential.

“He’s going to be an impact football player,” Sims said.

Mills is a three-star recruit for the 2019 class according to 247Sports. He joins a crowded Husker backfield for 2019 with two years of eligibility. He becomes the 16th commit in the 2019 class and the third running back, joining high school runners Ronald Thompkins of Loganville, Georgia, and Rahmir Johnson of Oradell, New Jersey.

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