Dedrick Mills is almost in the clear.
A source with knowledge of the situation told the Journal Star on Saturday that Nebraska believes the junior college running back and Nebraska signee reached the grades he needed in three summer classes at Garden City (Kansas) Community College.
As long as a final transcript checks out -- a process that could happen as early as Monday -- then Mills should be able to join the team this week.
Mills (5-foot-11, 220 pounds) graduated from Garden City in December, but needed to take additional classes this spring to bring his cumulative grade-point average up to 2.5, the benchmark for transferring from a junior college to a four-year institution.
It would be a sizable win for head coach Scott Frost, running backs coach Ryan Held and the entire program, considering the lack of experience overall and question marks that remain in the NU backfield.
Mills rushed for 1,358 yards and 19 touchdowns in 10 games as a sophomore at GCCC and was the 2016 ACC Freshman of the Year in 2016 after rushing for 700-plus yards and 12 touchdowns for Georgia Tech. He was dismissed from the team before his sophomore year for failing multiple drug tests, a subject he’s been open about in the past, and then broke his collarbone during his first season in junior college.
It didn’t take long into his second season before Held had seen what he needed to, though, and Mills committed to the Huskers last fall. He signed in January — a December signing was scuttled when Mills failed to report for a court appearance near his hometown of Waycross, Georgia, and had to turn himself in to authorities shortly before National Signing Day — but wasn’t eligible to enroll due to his GPA.
While Mills wasn’t able to make it to Lincoln in time for spring ball, he still heard constantly from his future position coach.
“He knows he’s getting a text or a call from Ryan Held every day to get his doggone grades right and make sure he’s staying in shape,” Held said.
Mills is a big puzzle piece to fall into place for NU. Sophomore Maurice Washington is a part of ongoing legal proceedings in California, where he faces two charges stemming from a sexually explicit video he allegedly sent to an ex-girlfriend. Behind Washington, sophomore Jaylin Bradley and senior walk-on Wyatt Mazour are the most experienced options. Freshmen Rahmir Johnson and Ronald Thompkins are also slated to join the program in the coming weeks.
Mills, though, brings a proven track record as a tough, physical runner and at this point, barring an unforeseen obstacle, he should compete for a significant role immediately.