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Nebraska Recruiting: Selling Opportunity to Future Tight Ends

March 16, 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.

Tight end utilization at Nebraska has been hit or miss for years now. That’s not unique to the current coaching staff. For whatever reason, maximizing the weapons at tight end has not happened. Scott Frost has success at UCF with Jordan Akins at tight end. The senior posted 32 receptions for 515 yards and four scores in the 2017 season. Jack Stoll led Nebraska tight ends with 25 catches for 234 yards and one touchdown in 2019. 

Nebraska’s coaching staff took inventory of what they could tweak for the 2020 season. Finding ways to focus on tight end usage became a priority we found out about last Monday. New offensive coordinator Matt Lubick has done a lot of research and so has tight ends coach Sean Beckton. 

For example, when Nebraska is able to return to practices—whenever that may be—Beckton had revamped the practice schdule to work on tight end utilization. “You get what you work on,” Beckston said, sharing that situaion practices will be part of the schedule in the future.

On the recruiting trail, Beckton knows the staff can sell opportunity. The tight end group is top-heavy right now, so whoever signs in the 2021 recruiting class will have a great opportunity to make an impact early. There is also the role that redshirt freshman Chris Hickman plays in all this. The plan was for him to spend time at wide receiver this spring but he will line up all over the field to create mismatches. That still leaves an opening for a new tight end to come in and see the field. 

Still, the Huskers know they must get better at using tight ends. That will help sell the opportunity to prospects considering Nebraska. 

“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.”

If the Huskers can showcase the tight ends more it would be helpful in many ways. It would help them land a player like Council Bluffs tight end Thomas Fidone. There would also be one more selling points for recruits in future classes like in 2022 where Beckton is already evaluating. It could make life easier on quarterback Adrian Martinez too.

Recruit Watch

>> The Huskers have a new defensive end offer of to Illlinois native Daine Hanson. He’s the teammate of another top target Ryan Keeler. 

>> Nebraska made the cut for 6-foot-4 cornerback Gabe Nealy out of Miami on Monday. 

>> The game of quarterback musical chairs continued as Arizona signal-called Ty Thompson committed to Oregon. The Ducks had interest in Peter Costelli and Heinrich Haarberg. 


>> The latest episode of the Moore to It Podcast is here with Part 2 of Jay Moore’s conversation with Doak Ostergard.

>> Erin Sorensen took on the topic of navigating the world of sports when there are no sports to cover.

>> It was announced Monday that the spring volleyball match against Northern Colorado has been canceled.

>> Jacob Padilla has your 2020 state basketball tournament notebook with plenty to dive into.

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