Nebraska fans had high expectations for Randy Gregory out of Yuma (Ariz.) Arizona Western C.C. Gregory played only one week his sophomore year in junior college before he broke his fibula. But to get to Nebraska and eventually the NFL you have to start from the beginning.
Gregory had a breakout junior year at Fishers (Ind.) Hamilton Southeastern which put him on the map. Back in February of 2010, Gregory was listed at 6-foot-3 and 210-pounds and had 92 tackles, 17 sacks as a junior which led to all-conference and all-state offers. The first team to offer was Indiana.
"I was really excited," Gregory said. "They seem like they really like me. I went over for visit and I really like the facilites. I was kind of surprised because it was real early."
Gregory was also getting interest from Purdue, Ball State, Cincinnati, Ohio, Iowa, Western Kentucky and even Penn State at the end of his junior year. Purdue offered Gregory in April and he committed about two months later.
”"I talked to Coach Hope and they made sure they drilled in my head that they had pretty much more success than anyone else at the D-End position. I'm hoping I can play beyond college and I feel Purdue can give me a good chance of that. I have a great relationship with my position coach, my recruiter, Coach Hope. Another thing is I'm real close to home. It's only an hour-hour and a half away and my parents can come see me play."
Gregory flirted with other visits leading up to signing day out of high school, but signed with Purdue. Gregory failed to qualify though which led him to Arizona Western. The Huskers offered Gregory his sophomore year in mid-October which was about Gregory’s 10th offer overall.
To remind some people, what added to Gregory’s value was that he was redshirting his sophomore year after breaking his fibula during practice. That gave Gregory three years of eligibility and had some of the top programs calling although he still considered himself a Purdue commit.
"I am still committed to Purdue, but my recruiting has blown up because of my eligibility. I just got four offers last week. I got offers from Kentucky, UCLA, West Virginia and Nebraska. I am from Indiana originally so the Big Ten is in my blood. My dad played for Northwestern. I am a Midwest kid.
”"My top schools right now are Oklahoma, Purdue, Iowa State, Missouri and Nebraska. I might go to West Virginia on December 8th, but that is the weekend that Missouri wants me to visit too. I will also go to Purdue for the Indiana game since that is a pretty big rivalry."
Gregory decommitted from Purdue on October 31st in 2012 and committed to Nebraska the next day. Gregory visited Nebraska when they hosted Michigan and beat the Wolverines, 23-9.
"It was just a great visit. My dad and I really just enjoyed our time there. Everything was great from the game to the coaches to the academics. It couldn't have been better. I was hearing rumors that Ohio State and Alabama were interested in me. At this point I really don't care. I have found the place for me.”
In two years at Nebraska, Gregory saw action in 24 games starting 20 of them. He had 120 total tackles over the past two years including 29 tackles for loss, 17.5 sacks and 2 interceptions in his career. Gregory chose to leave Nebraska early after his junior year where he battled injuries.
In just two years at Nebraska Gregory left a mark. Gregory was the Nebraska defensive MVP in 2013 after logging the most sacks by any first year Husker (10.5). He was named to the Ted Hendricks Award watch list and was a consensus first-team all-Big Ten selection.
Gregory followed that up with being named to the Nagurski, Ted Hendricks, Lonbardi and Walter Camp Award watch lists in 2014. Gregory finished the year as a media and coaches choice first team all-Big Ten selection as well as AP third-team all-American.
At the NFL combine today Gregory stood out. Gregory came in at just under 6-foot-5 and weight in at 235-pounds. Gregory benched 225-pounds 24 times, ran a 1.62-second 10-yard split and a 4.64/40-yard dash on his first pass and came back with a 1.60 split and a 4.57/40-yard dash time on the second.
Scout.com national recruiting analyst Jamie Newberg released his latest mock draft (9.0) on February 17th. Gregory debuted on the list as the No. 4 pick overall to Oakland and finished up at No. 4. Newberg slid Gregory up to No. 2 overall in 2.0 to Tennessee otherwise Gregory remained at 4th overall. Other services see Gregory anywhere from No. 2 to No. 5.