Coach Sean Beckton looks at players while running drills
Photo Credit: Greg Smith

Nebraska Recruiting: Local Tight End Talent on the Rise for Huskers

August 24, 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.

Having a tight end that opposing defenses have to account for can be a big X-factor for any offense. In Coach Scott Frost’s offense, that statement rings even more true than normal. In theory, there are enough playmakers to worry about (including quarterback). Adding a game-changing tight end to the equation can overwhelm defenses.

Trying to land those tight ends can be difficult but there has been a resurgence in the area of quality tight end prospects. The trend started in local recruiting with former Omaha Burke standout Chris Hickman. Area recruiter Barrett Ruud and tight ends coach Sean Beckton built a great relationship with Hickman. Now he’s in Lincoln.

This recruiting cycle is headlined by the top tight end in the nation: 4-star Thomas Fidone. The Council Bluffs native is as close to a 5-star prospect as a tight end that you’ll get. Creighton Prep’s AJ Rollins is also a Power 5 prospect. The Huskers have been after Rollins hard for over a year now. Same as Fidone.

There is a third tight end to watch for the 2021 recruiting class: Norris High School’s James Carnie. He was a standout prospect at the Warren Academy Showcase this weekend. He measured in about 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds and ran a 4.6 laser-timed 40-yard dash. He is committed to Miami (Ohio) but it’d be surprising if he didn’t receive more Power 5 offers after the growth he’s shown.

There is plenty of talent out there at tight end right now but it also continues into the future. Bellevue West teammates Micah Riley and Kaden Helms are both 2022 prospects. Each holds early 2022 Power 5 scholarship offers. Helms was impressive at the Warren Academy Showcase as well. Riley did not take part in the event but he certainly looks the part. The 2022 class is also home to Des Moines, Iowa native Eli Raridon. At 6-foot-6 abd 220 pounds, he has a great frame to build on.

Getting more of these local prospects locked in as Huskers would go a long way to building the type of room that Beckton is shooting for. He laid out his vision for us last spring.

“It’s competition every single day we step on the field,” Beckton said. “We compete in meetings and everything we do. We compete in individual drills. Maybe we can create a situation where we play with four guys on the field at the tight end spot. When I talk to those guys, they know they will all play if they are capable of playing.”

We know that the Huskers do a great job of building relationships on the recruiting trail. Let’s say the Huskers combine that with tight ends showing promise on the field or if they are more involved with the game plan. Nebraska could stack up a group of quality local tight ends soon.

Recruit Watch

>> Elkhorn South offensive lineman Isaac Zatechka picked up an offer from the University of Kearney.

>> Colorado tight end target Gunnar Helm committed to Texas on Monday.

>> Mekhi Miller, a 2022 wide receiver target from Kansas, picked up an offer from Tennessee on Monday.

>> Intriguing 2021 Omaha North linebacker Sam Scott performed well at the Warren Academy Showcase and put out some highlights. Scott also picked up an offer from Iowa Western after the event.


>> California defensive end Mandela Tobin is looking for the right blend (Premium) of academics and football in his future home.

>> Derek Peterson posed an interesting question in his latest column. Are we undervaluing Nebraska’s inside linebacker room?

>> The Moore To It Podcast is back to give you an Out Of Nowhere Podcast crossover event.

>> As Derek Peterson writes, the Warren Academy Showcase was a much-needed opportunity for many.

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