Northwestern vs. Nebraska, 10.2

Nebraska offensive lineman Cam Jurgens hugs athletic director Trev Alberts after the Huskers defeated Northwestern on Oct. 2 at Memorial Stadium.

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Steven M. Sipple, Parker Gabriel and Chris Basnett talk through the ever-evolving coaching searches that Nebraska football and head coach Scott Frost are currently conducting in this episode.

Nebraska football coach Scott Frost has a full schedule at the moment. 

OK, that's an understatement.

He's in the process of hiring assistant coaches to replace the four with whom he parted ways on Nov. 8, two days after a 26-17 loss to then-No. 6 Ohio State. Meanwhile, Frost and his staff are in a critical recruiting period as the Dec. 15 early signing date approaches. If all that weren't enough, some prominent Huskers, most notably quarterback Adrian Martinez, are making decisions about their futures. 

According to multiple sources, center Cam Jurgens also is in decision-making mode as he strongly contemplates entering his name in the NFL Draft pool.

This is one to watch very closely, I'm told. 

This is one to watch closely because Jurgens has made 18 straight starts and 31 total for Nebraska. Although the Husker offensive line struggled mightily this season as the team slid to a 3-9 record (1-8 Big Ten), Jurgens was a bright spot. The fourth-year sophomore cleaned up the wayward-snap issues that plagued him during the previous two seasons. He also did his best to clean up the messes of his fellow offensive linemen. 

The offensive line has played a leading role in holding back Nebraska's program under Frost. But Jurgens isn't part of that conversation. In fact, he's a player Frost could build around in 2022 as the fourth-year head coach tries to win enough games to retain his job into 2023.  

Those with knowledge of Jurgens' situation say recent projections suggest the Beatrice native could be drafted in the middle rounds — the third, fourth or fifth. On the other hand, if he would return to school in 2022, some feel he could bump up his stock.  

Nebraska's season-ending depth chart listed junior Trent Hixson as the backup center. Hixson started two games this season at left guard after appearing in only three games in 2020. 

Nebraska has had one center who was awarded the Rimington Trophy — Dominic Raiola in 2000, the inaugural year of the award. Make no mistake, Jurgens, an ultra-explosive athlete at 6-foot-3 and 290 pounds, possesses the sort of potential to make a run at the Rimington. 

What a story that would be. 

It should be noted that one of the offensive line coaches who's very prominent on Frost's radar screen in the hiring process is Donovan Raiola, Dominic Raiola's younger brother. Donovan Raiola, an assistant offensive line coach with the Chicago Bears, started 39 of 43 career games at center for Wisconsin from 2002 to 2005, including 38 of his final 39 contests. He was a three-time all-Big Ten honorable mention selection and team captain as a senior.

He's regarded as an offensive line technician, as someone who enthusiastically emphasizes the finer details of the craft.

Jurgens is still relatively new at the position, having spent his true freshman season at tight end before switching to center during the spring of 2019.

So, will Jurgens stay at Nebraska for another season and try to refine his craft? Or will he make the jump to the NFL?

No question, this is one to watch closely.

This article originally ran on journalstar.com.

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