Bellevue West crushes through the paper sign and runs out onto the field before game
Photo Credit: Greg Smith

Big Red Recon: 2021, 2022 Tight End Debates Start for Huskers

August 26, 2020

It’s been a quieter week on the recruiting trail for Nebraska. There haven’t been any new commitments but jet Huskers are hard at work during the “minicamp” portion of their preparations for the 2020 season. The team still doesn’t know for sure who they will play and when as the Big Ten figures the scheduling issue out.

With that said, there is still plenty to talk about with recruiting as the Huskers continue building the 2021 recruiting class while also looking toward 2022.

Let’s get to the Recon.

Husker Commits

Marques Buford‍, Defensive Back, Cedar Hill, Texas

Gabe Ervin‍, Running Back, Buford, Georgia

Heinrich Haarberg‍, Quarterback, Kearney, Nebraska

Shawn Hardy‍, Wide Receiver, Kingsland, Georgia

Randolph Kpai‍, Inside Linebacker, Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Henry Lutovsky‍, Offensive Lineman, Mount Pleasant, Iowa

Seth Malcom‍, Inside Linebacker, Tabor, Iowa 

Latrell Neville‍, Wide Receiver, Houston, Texas

Patrick Payton‍, Outside Linebacker, Miami, Florida

Teddy Prochazka‍, Offensive Lineman, Elkhorn, Nebraska

Will Schweitzer‍, Outside Linebacker, Los Gatos, California

Lardarius Webb‍, Defensive Back, Jackson, Mississippi

Malik Williams‍, Defensive Back, Buford, Georgia 

Branson Yager‍, Offensive Lineman, Grantsville, Utah

2021 Needs

QB 0 DL 3
RB 1 MLB 1
WR 0 OLB 1
TE 2 DB 0
OL 0 K/P 0


The Recon:

 >> After the Warren Academy Showcase last weekend, I wrote about the emergence of 2022 Bellevue West tight end Kaden Helms. That same day, Helms received a scholarship offer from Nebraska. He also got one from Purdue later that day bringing his total to three Power 5 offers. Iowa State was the first to offer him. I’m very interested to track Helms’ development. He’s put on some good weight during the offseason and has a great frame for a hybrid tight end. 

There are now four players in Nebraska—all from Omaha—with offers from the Huskers for the 2022 recruiting class. We are still sorting out the 2021 group but the 2022 group is strong and only getting better. Bellevue West having a pair of tight ends that hold offers from Nebraska is pretty rare. It's an intriguing storyline for 2022. 

>> The tight end situation in 2022 is just starting to develop but the class of 2021 tight end decision has become a bigger storyline than expected. After his performance last weekend at the Warren Academy Showcase, Norris tight end James Carnie is turning heads in Lincoln. He’s currently committed to Miami (Ohio) but it won’t be long before Power 5 schools start looking at him. He is firmly on Nebraska’s radar but does not yet hold an offer. Creighton Prep’s AJ Rollins has slow played his recruitment but might have to speed up with Carnie looming. It’s going to be tough to take those two, plus Thomas Fidone, as tight ends in this class. Fidone has a spot no matter what. Will Nebraska consider taking Rollins as an outside linebacker or even an ‘athlete’ if needed? The Huskers could then figure it out later and have a good problem to solve. 

>> Since we’ve been discussing tight ends, why stop now? In my interview with Council Bluffs 4-star tight end Thomas Fidone, he gave an interesting nugget. He had set an official visit on September 12 to LSU. The SEC announced on Thursday it would be moving to a 10-game conference-only schedule that begins in late September. That visit obviously won’t happen now. That’s not to say he couldn’t reschedule for a conference game though. He does want to see what LSU has to offer in person. However, I still believe it will be difficult to allow official visits to happen this fall. The eventual announcement from the NCAA on recruiting will be huge to determine Fidone’s timeline. 

>> One of the most intriguing positions to watch on the Huskers’ roster in 2020 is the defensive line. On Thursday, defensive line coach Tony Tuioti appeared on Sports Nightly and talked through his position group and what he's looking forward to this season. A player I’ll be paying attention to is redshirt sophomore Tate Wildeman. He was a big get for the Huskers as a 4-star out of Colorado but injuries have slowed him down in Lincoln. 

“I think Tate has done a phenomenal job getting himself bigger, faster stronger,” Tuioti said. “He looks great right now. Tate early on in his career, was looking like a guy who could contribute early and then got injured. He’s a warrior and has been working hard and he’s back to 100 percent.”

Wildeman has been a forgotten man in the conversation among fans in determining the line rotation. It will be interesting to see if he can carve out a role in 2020.

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