COLUMBUS, Ohio — If you follow Ohio State football, you’ve probably heard the name Nate Gerry at some point in the past five days.
And if — like me — you’ve been too caught up in the Buckeyes’ ongoing season to pay attention to the rest of the Big Ten, you may be wondering what the big deal is.
Upon further investigation, however, the Cornhuskers senior safety does in fact appear to be as good as advertised. What all do you need to know about Gerry before No. 6 Ohio State hosts No. 10 Nebraska for a prime-time showdown in The Horseshoe on Saturday night?
Check it out:
A 3-star athlete by way of Washington high school in Sioux Falls, S.D., Gerry arrived in Lincoln as one of the less-heralded members of Bo Pelini’s 2013 class. The 52nd-ranked safety and No. 727 overall prospect in his class, Gerry chose to play for the Cornhuskers over Iowa, Iowa State, Michigan State, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and South Dakota State.
Despite his status as a low profile prospect, it didn’t take long for Gerry to make an impact.
Appearing in every game as a freshman, including three starts as an outside linebacker, Gerry showed flashes, tallying 32 tackles, two of which came for a loss, and a quarterback hurry. The following season, he converted to safety and enjoyed a breakout campaign as a second-team All-Big Ten selection, recording a team-best five interceptions, in addition to 88 tackles, seven of which came for a loss, two forced fumbles, four pass breakups and a fumble recovery.
Gerry continued his steady play in 2015 with team-highs in both tackles (79) and interceptions (4). He also tied for a team lead in pass breakups with seven.
As a senior, Gerry appears to have saved his best for last. In seven games — he served a suspension for Nebraska’s season opener because of a violation of team rules — the 6-foot-2, 220-pounder has totaled 50 tackles, 5.5 of which have come for a loss, six pass breakups and a Big Ten-best four interceptions. From a statistical standpoint, there may not be a better safety in the Big Ten than No. 25 on Nebraska.
Check out these highlights of Gerry in action:
Opinion on Gerry as an NFL prospect is mixed.
Gerry ranks as Pro Football Focus‘ No. 5 safety prospect for the 2017 NFL draft.
“One of the top-graded coverage safeties in 2014, Gerry does a nice job of working downhill when the play is in front of him and he’s a good fit for a two-high safety team,” wrote PFF analyst Steve Palazzolo. “His playmaking skills have led to nine interceptions and five passes defensed over the last two years.”
WalterFootball.com, meanwhile, ranks him as the No. 17 player at his position, slotting him as a third- to fourth-round pick.
“Gerry has put together a number of good games and clutch plays for Nebraska,” writes Walter Football draft analyst Charlie Campbell. “However, he is a smart, gritty player who could be short on the physical skills for the NFL.”
What they’re saying
Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer, who said Ohio State quarterbacks coach and ex-Nebraska assistant Tim Beck told him about Gerry: “Great player. Fast, tough. Got our scouting report on him. He’s a draftable player, very draftable player and just real fast and physical.”
Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst: “He came up with some big plays against us and that just confirms what we thought going in: He’s a very good player.”