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Nebraska Recruiting: Recent Success, Offensive Focal Point Make Compelling Pitch to Tight Ends for Huskers

March 31, 2022

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 ends were the topic of the day on Wednesday.

New offensive coordinator Mark Whipple’s offense features the tight end more. That raised some eyebrows in the Nebraska fanbase. Utilizing the tight end has been desired by fans for years. That’s going back to the days of Kyler Reed. Tight ends coach Sean Beckton explained the change.

“So there are certain plays that I know, and the tight ends know, they’re the first option,” Beckton said. “We’ve always been third or fourth. Now, we’ve got multiple plays where we’re the first option. So the kids are really excited about that, in particular Travis Vokolek. We want him to have a big year this year. We’re really doing a good job working on the top of his routes, so he can improve his pass skills. But we’re really excited about being more of a first option and what we’re doing with the tight ends.”

The Huskers started turning the corner last season on tight end involvement. That had a lot to do with the breakout season that Austin Allen had. The NFL hopeful posted 38 catches for 602 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Allen set new school records for catches and receiving yards by a tight end at Nebraska. He was also the first all-conference player the Huskers had on offense since 2018.

Beckton would like that to continue that trend with Travis Vokolek this season. It would help the current team if Vokolek can be involved in the offense the same way Allen was.

It would also help Nebraska’s recruiting efforts.

“It started really last year my eyes with Austin Allen having a pretty much a monster year for what we’ve done here with tight ends,” Beckton said. “Everybody says the tight ends haven’t been a part of our offense but Austin was the Big Ten tight end of the year. I’ve communicated with some tight ends in recruiting. They realize what Austin Allen has done. They saw him at the [NFL] Combine. He’s kind of given us a little bit of a momentum. Same thing with Jack Stoll I’ve used him. I say ‘hey these guys get the ball.’

The Huskers’ recruiting board at tight end is mostly a mystery right now. The team hasn’t offered many players at the position for the 2023 class. They took at least one tight end the last two recruiting cycles. We had a solid list of targets at this point in those cycles. We’ll see which names surface as the team wraps up spring football.

Nebraska does have young tight ends on the roster. That depth can dry up quickly as we’ve seen this spring. Tight end didn’t seem like a huge need coming into the spring but the Huskers do have recent success at the position to sell. The need is changing quickly so we could see the team increase efforts to land a tight end for the 2023 cycle.

Recruit Watch

>> The Huskers made the top 12 for New Jersey linebacker Phil Picciotti.

>> Nebraska offered a scholarship to Washington 2023 lineman Heath Ozaeta on Wednesday.

>> Millard South 2023 kicker/punter Simon McClannan is heading to the spring game on April 9.

ICYMI

>> There was bonus episode of the Straight Up Breakdown podcast this week where I spoke with Atlanta Dream President and COO Morgan Shaw Parker. We covered her rise in the sports world, working in the WNBA during social unrest and COVID-19 and much more.

>> Husker batters are focused on productivity at the plate with runners in scoring position.

>> James Carnie’s confidence is on the rise through his second spring at Nebraska.

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