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Nebraska Recruiting: Could Tight End Usage and 2021 Recruiting Impact 2022 Cycle?

February 17, 2021

Recruiting never stops and it’s easy to miss the top stories day-to-day. Recruiting analyst Greg Smith recaps all things Nebraska recruiting news, analysis and more so you never miss a thing.


Going into the 2020 season, we knew that tight end would be a huge topic. Nebraska needed to get the players on the roster more involved in the game plan on a consistent basis. It made sense that Nebraska would want to maximize all weapons available. That would help Coach Scott Frost’s offense kick into gear. Tight ends coach Sean Beckton said the team was revamping the practice schedule. He talked about growth at the start of spring football last year.

“That’s where Coach Frost has grown in his development, he knows those areas we were weak in, so we’re going to spend some days just working on red zone, some days just working on third-down execution,” Beckton said. “Those are some of the things we saw we needed to change our approach, so obviously with the tight ends, we’re going to do some things there to get those guys the ball a little bit more in the red zone.”

The Huskers largely achieved the goal in the 2020 season to get the tight ends involved more. The weird season numbers don’t tell the whole story on how much more the group was used. Austin Allen hauled in 18 catches for 236 yards and a touchdown. He had the second most targets on the team. Travis Vokolek was fourth on the team in targets during the 2020 season.

Nebraska needed to use the tight ends more in the offense. The team did that. There are other reasons Nebraska needed to increase tight end usage. It was recruiting several talented tight ends who wanted to see if what they were being told via Zoom was true. That turned out well for the Huskers. They signed one of the best tight end groups in the entire 2021 recruiting class. Thomas Fidone, James Carnie and AJ Rollins made for impressive haul of players. The position group was in need of young talent.

Since Nebraska did so well in the 2021 cycle, could that impact 2022 recruiting? That seems pretty likely. The team probably wants to take two tight ends in the 2022 class. Naturally some will be turned off by the No. 1 tight end from the 2021 class being so young in the program. For most kids Nebraska is recruiting, that won’t be a huge issue. There are plenty of options out there. Locally, Kaden Helms and Micah Riley are two of the best tight ends in the region. Austin Terry from Washington, Chase Androff from Minnesota and Eli Raridon from Iowa are just a few other prospects the Huskers like.

The 2022 recruiting cycle will hold a lot of intrigue at the tight end position. Beckton will want to keep his room stocked with talent. Stacking another solid group onto the 2021 guys would go a long way to achieving that goal.

Recruit Watch

>> Kansas linebacker and Husker target Caden Crawford committed to Iowa on Wednesday.

>> Iowa State came into Nebraska with an early offer to 2023 offensive lineman Gunnar Gottula.

>> The Cyclones also offered 2023 athlete Jonathan Humpal from Lewis Central in Iowa.

ICYMI

>> Nebraska baseball finally has a schedule for the 2021 season and open up against Purdue.

>> The Hail Varsity staff returned to answer questions in the mailbag including projecting the top five wideouts for the 2021 season.

>> We are all in a brain freeze as the latest episode of the Mind Your Own podcast with Erin Sorensen and Sausha Durkan explains.

>> Jacob Padilla explains in Padding the Stats why you should put some respect on Nebraska’s name.

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