Nebraska lands Arizona State offensive lineman Ben Scott

Ben Scott could have extended his recruitment another few weeks. He could have visited more schools and fielded more calls as one of the hotter commodities in the transfer portal.

Instead the former Arizona State offensive lineman surprised himself – and many in the recruiting industry – by making up his mind late Thursday. The choice is Nebraska.

And just like that, the Huskers have landed their first proven Power Five blocker in the portal era at a position of need.

“When I was there it just felt like home,” Scott told The World-Herald. “The atmosphere is great, the coaches are great. (Nebraska coach) Matt Rhule is coming in and he’s not playing around. He’s not going to settle for no mediocre season.”

Competition was stiff for the 6-foot-5, 310-pounder who estimated he would have received north of 30 offers if he had entertained all the schools that reached out during his two weeks as a free-agent transfer. Miami and Auburn were his other finalists.

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A confluence of circumstances helped bring Scott and Nebraska together. Chief among them was a preexisting relationship with Huskers offensive line coach Donovan Raiola and his family who, like Scott, are from Honolulu, Hawaii. Scott’s mother, Renee, is a Nebraska native from Columbus. And NU reached out so quickly that Scott was on the way to Lincoln for an official visit a day after entering the portal Dec. 8.

Said Scott: “There are always a lot of factors but I think this place will help me be ready for the next level more than any others.”

Nebraska plans to deploy Scott at center, he said. The Huskers lost 2022 starter Trent Hixson to graduation and had no obvious candidates to step into the role. Now they have a 28-game starter with the Sun Devils who served as the right tackle in 2020 and 2021 before making the “business decision” last season to move to center – the position he projects to play in the NFL.

Formerly a low-graded three-star prospect in the 2019 class, Scott quickly shook the label to become a noted run blocker and durable contributor across more than 1,700 career snaps with his Pac-12 school. He’s the seventh portal add for Nebraska and immediately joins the conversation as a likely starter next year.

Already with a biomedical degree in hand, Scott has two seasons of eligibility remaining. This is an opportunity to send that draft stock soaring.

“I feel like I can see things better than most on the field – a safety rotation, what coverage the defense is in, what blitz someone is running,” Scott said. “It’s easier for me to see that at center than tackle. I think I’m more athletic than probably most centers in college football and most defensive tackles in college football too.”

Rhule said Wednesday that Big Red is “going to have a good offensive line next year,” both through developing current players and adding new ones. The Huskers missed out on touted Rhode Island transfer tackle Ajani Cornelius this week but brought in as many as five prep O-linemen depending on which side of the ball Jason Maciejczak (Pierre, SD) and Mason Goldman (Gretna) end up.

“We’re going to continue to try to look because I’ll never, ever, ever not take a talented offensive or defensive lineman,” Rhule said then. “That’s what wins games.”

The Huskers now have 28 scholarship players in the class – 21 preps/jucos, seven transfers – after signing 27 on Wednesday.

Scott’s commitment leaves former Arkansas quarterback Malik Hornsby as the only known Nebraska official visitor under Rhule yet to join a new school. Transfers can commit at anytime, although at NU they would need to do so before UNL classes start Jan. 23 to be involved in spring workouts.

Scott is in the fold and will join the program next month. His announcement plan hit a snafu late Thursday when his mother “couldn’t resist” posting the news to Facebook and word got out.

He said he’s ready to get to work with coaches who preach a style he knows he believes in. He spent one spring break with former ASU teammates training with former Husker legend Dominic Raiola, who uses the same methods and approach. Add Rhule’s line background, and Scott said the chance to contribute and learn in Lincoln was too good to pass up.

“They’re technicians, but it’s also about getting your hands dirty and going to work,” Scott said. “It’s a good mix between the two. They’re not all just grit and grind and the process but they’re not all just technique. There’s a good mix and that’s what you need to be a good offensive lineman.”​

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