Nebraska third-year sophomore defensive end Randy Gregory, a junior college transfer, is one of the best newcomers in college football this season, and his play of late has led to questions about whether he will turn pro in 2014.
"That's so far down the line," Gregory told the Lincoln (Neb.) Journal star. "We still have three games, and then I've got two more years here."
Huskers coach Bo Pelini answered "no" when asked earlier this week if Gregory was ready for the NFL. Pelini was an NFL assistant for nine seasons, and he said Gregory's pass-rush skills remind him of former Patriots and Browns star and current NFL Network analyst Willie McGinest. But Pelini also said Gregory needs to improve against the run. Gregory has excellent speed and is dangerous off the edge, but opponents have had some success running right at him.
"You want pass rushers, especially at that level," Pelini said, per the Omaha (Neb.) World-Herald. "You don't want a guy who you feel is going to be a liability in the run game. Trust me when I say that Randy is not a liability for us in the run game, but there's a lot more out there for him as far as being an every-down guy. That's what they are looking for at that level right now."
Gregory (6-foot-6, 255 pounds) had nine sacks in 2011 as a true freshman at Arizona Western Community College but missed last season with a broken leg. Gregory is from the Indianapolis area, and he signed with Purdue as a 210-pound defensive end out of high school but was an academic non-qualifier.
He leads the Big Ten with 7.5 sacks and is second in the league with 12.5 tackles for loss. Gregory has 47 tackles overall and also has 14 quarterback hurries and a forced fumble.
As productive as Gregory has been, especially of late (seven of his sacks have come in the past five games), Pelini said he can become a better all-around player.
"It's the little things," Pelini told the World-Herald. "He's a really good pass rusher. The details aren't quite there with Randy. He's got a lot to learn. That's to be expected. He's raw right now, but the potential is there. He's going to be very good."