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Michigan State vs. Nebraska, 11.17

Nebraska signee Dedrick Mills, a junior college running back from Garden City Community College in Kansas, takes in the pregame festivities before a Huskers game against Michigan State at Memorial Stadium on Nov. 17.

The missing piece of Nebraska’s early signing class is in place.

The Huskers made that official when they announced the signing of junior college running back Dedrick Mills of Garden City (Kansas) Community College on Monday evening. 

Mills has been verbally committed since the summer but didn’t sign when the early period opened on Dec. 19. 

As it turns out, Mills was in court that day, where he received probation for failing to appear in court after a July misdemeanor charge for driving with a suspended license. It was not his first time running into problems after failing to show up in court. 

But the Huskers worked through that situation and assessed the remaining academic work Mills needs to complete — he will not be on campus this spring and instead will join NU in the summer as long as he wraps up his work at Garden City — and felt comfortable signing him. 

Mills, a 5-foot-11, 215-pound back originally from Waycross, Georgia, brings high-level experience and a different style of runner to Ryan Held’s room than the current collection of sophomore Maurice Washington, senior Wyatt Mazour, sophomore Jaylin Bradley and signees Rahmir Johnson and Ronald Thompkins.

Mills showed his proclivity for power running as a freshman at Georgia Tech in 2016, rushing for more than 700 yards and 12 touchdowns and earning freshman All-America honors before being dismissed from the school. Then he ended up at Garden City, where he first broke his collarbone, then returned in 2018 and rushed for 1,358 yards and 19 touchdowns as the Broncbusters advanced to the NJCAA national title game.

"He's a great running back," then-Garden City head coach Jeff Sims told the Journal Star in September. "He's an NFL tailback." 

Mills earned NJCAA All-America honors for his prolific sophomore campaign.

"I've had four All-American running backs," Sims said. "When I was at Indiana, I was fortunate that I was there when Tevin Coleman was there. (Mills) has Tevin Coleman-like traits in attitude, in work ethic and in commitment to wanting to be a great football player.

"Him and Tevin are different-style running backs, but I would tell you that, (compared to) four All-Americans, (Mills) has the chance to be the best one." 

Mills is the 25th player to sign with Nebraska this offseason, joining 23 high school players that signed Dec. 19 and Oklahoma State graduate transfer defensive lineman Darrion Daniels. 

The Huskers have an upper limit of 30 for the 2019 class, so they can take up to five more between now and the beginning of next season. They still have one verbal commitment in juco offensive lineman Desmond Bland (Arizona Western) and could save a scholarship for a graduate transfer further into the offseason — say, after spring ball is concluded in April — so look for NU to sign anywhere between three and five players on Feb. 6. 

Contact the writer at pgabriel@journalstar.com or 402-473-7439. On Twitter @HuskerExtraPG.

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Sports writer

Parker joined the Journal Star as the University of Nebraska football beat writer in August 2017. He previously covered Montana State athletics for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 2012.

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