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Nebraska Recruiting: How Increase in TE Usage Could Benefit Huskers

June 04, 2020

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.

For years now, it feels like everyone has been waiting on Nebraska’s tight ends to be a major factor in its offense. That anticipation is not specific to one coaching staff. Back in the Bill Callahan days, Matt Herian was going to be the tight end to get the ball rolling. Around 2009, Kyler Reed was going to be the next big tight end at Nebraska. After that, Cethan Carter was going to be the tight end to reach his full potential. 

It never quite happened with any of those players. Two common threads between them all was enormous potential and injuries. Each missed significant time during their Husker careers. 

The 2020 group is solid and full of intrigue. Senior Jack Stoll is the team leader of the room and a returning starter, yet there is still strong competition for snaps at the position. Juniors Austin Allen and Travis Vokolek return and Vokolek is coming off a year of sitting out after transferring from Rutgers. Hopes are high for what he can contribute to the team. Kurt Rafdal is still in the mix and redshirt freshman Chris Hickman is now listed as a wide receiver but could flex into the position if needed.

Having a strong tight end room could do a lot for a Nebraska offense looking to get off the ground fully under Coach Scott Frost. Given the depth at the position we could even see some three tight end sets in the 2020 campaign. 

Of course, there is a recruiting angle to this too. Each of the main tight ends on the team is an upperclassman. It’s perfect timing for Nebraska to be after two players at the position this recruiting cycle. We all know that Council Bluffs tight end Thomas Fidone is the No. 1 target for the Huskers this cycle. He’s the highest-ranked tight end in the entire country and the Huskers have had the full court press on him for well over a year. Quarterback commit Heinrich Haarberg is also chipping in on the efforts.

It’s not just Fidone that Nebraska is after. Colorado tight end Erik Olsen spoke with Hail Varsity in early May about how he really likes the staff but their pitch for using tight ends has been connecting too. Nebraska has been consistently telling tight end targets the same message. Both 2021 and 2022 targets say the Huskers want to use the position more. Another Coloradan Gunnar Helm is also in close contact with Nebraska. So is Creighton Prep standout AJ Rollins. 

There always seems to be hope that the coming year is the one where tight end play picks up for Nebraska. That’s the case again in 2020. This time there are also big recruiting implications. The team is selling increased usage on the field. The results will be out there for everyone to see in the fall. 

Recruit Watch

>> Texas wide receiver target CJ Guidry released a decision date in a tweet on Wednesday. 

>> Cam’ron Valdez, a 2021 running back target posted an edit the Huskers sent to him. 

>> Deshawn Woods, a 2022 offensive line target from Omaha Central, picked an offer from Arizona State. 


>> I spoke with the coaches of defensive end target Tobechi Okoli to get their input (Premium) on what makes him such a coveted prospect.

>> As Derek Peterson writes from his conversation with athletic director Bill Moos, the move to the Big Ten was correct from afar. 

>> Tom’s Time is back to take a look at the bizarre breaks in the 1992 quarterback race. 

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Tags: 2020