LINCOLN, Neb. – When redshirt freshman Nick Gates was recruited to Nebraska, he told Scout.com – “five.”
Five being the number of positions at the time offensive line coach John Garrison could see the All-American four-star prospect playing on the offensive line.
Garrison is now at UNLV and Gates is a redshirt freshman at Nebraska. The number these days is one.
Gates is currently locked into a position battle with senior offensive lineman Zach Sterup for the right offensive tackle spot.
Sterup has experience. He’s played in 25 contests and has 10 career starts.
Gates has the edge. He’s more athletic - quicker off the ball.
"He loves football and he competes like crazy," said offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh. “He’s done a good job. He’s gotten stronger.”
It’s still extremely early, but the offensive line appears to be taking some shape in Lincoln when it comes to the first-team.
Beyond right tackle, position battles at center and left guard are still ongoing.
In both cases, it appears the older player is winning.
At center, senior Ryne Reeves appears to be pulling away, over former Colorado No. 1 prep Paul Thurston, a junior.
“I like our physicalness and I like our effort. I think our technique is improving”, said Cavanaugh with a group of reporters earlier in the week. “The two separators to me are going to be our toughness and our technique.”
Gates was a Big Red Report standout on the offensive line during the spring, making our stock up list in mid-April.
The nation’s No. 24 offensive tackle coming out of high school, Nebraska beat out schools like Arizona, Oregon, UCLA and Texas A&M for his services.