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.
Tight end Thomas Fidone suffered an ACL injury back in the spring. The target date for a potential return was right around this time of the year. He seems to have attacked his rehab and started practicing with the team a couple of weeks ago. Coach Scott Frost was asked about Fidone on Monday, saying that the Council Bluffs native is still shaking a little bit of rust off.
“When he’s ready to play and gives us as good or better of a chance to win as the other guys, then he will be out there,” Frost said. “He’s got a really bright future and we’ll see how quick that comes.”
The four-game redshirt rule is so critical for this situation. Fans are eager to see Fidone in action. That makes sense too, seeing as he was the No. 1 tight end recruit in the 2021 recruiting class and players that have that type of rating usually play early.
As Fidone continues to learn and get better, fellow tight end Austin Allen thinks it would be beneficial for him to see the field.
“There’s a lot of experience to gain just from even stepping on the field one time and doing one play,” Allen said. “I think it’s valuable for a guy like even Thomas to get on the field for a play or two.”
Fidone certainly wants to get on the field and try to help the team. Allen believes he should get out there at some point too. Should the Huskers bring him back at all in the 2021 season?
There are several reasons in the argument for bringing him back. There is some value to getting one of the most high-profile recruits on the field immediately. That probably won’t factor into Frost’s decision making, yet it would be a potential selling point to recruits. Not only because you landed Fidone but because you found a way to use his skills immediately. We see that type of recruiting pitch often.
There is also a practical reason in the argument for playing Fidone this season. If he plays in one of the final four games of the season, he gets his feet wet. Those reps would be valuable tape for Fidone to learn from and get better from in real game situations. It would certainly help him heading into the 2022 season when he will be the presumed starter at tight end. The chances of Austin Allen returning with the numbers he has put up are slim. The jury is still out on Travis Vokolek’s return too. Having some game experience would ease some concerns going into next year.
The biggest downside to potentially playing Fidone in 2021 is risk of re-injury. A setback could be devastating. Frost would have to weigh the benefits of getting him action versus the risk of re-injury. That’s something he will have a much better grasp of than anyone else since he has all the medical information.
For me, if he’s ready to go, you play Fidone. He’s a special athlete and you can never have enough threats on the football field. Especially for an offense that has struggled through various parts of this season. Coming off the bye week would be a great time to get him some snaps.
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Greg is the Recruiting Analyst for Hail Varsity and has covered Husker athletics since 2013. He has always had a passion for sports while growing up in the Chicago area. As he got older and had to hang up his cleats and sneakers, he realized his passion for sports went beyond just watching and attending games. He has covered many events from the Rose Bowl to championship boxing matches. If he’s not talking sports, he’s hovering over his grill. He is married to an amazing woman, Kim, and they have a dog that barks when Greg yells at the TV during games.