Nebraska's tight ends are young. You already knew that. But young doesn't mean unfamiliar for the Huskers' new staff. Position coach Sean Beckton appeared on Husker Sports Nightly on Tuesday to talk about the position and revealed that while this year's group of tight ends might be mostly unknown to Husker fans, a few of them had existing connections with the staff.
Start with Nebraska's towering pair of redshirt freshmen –– Austin Allen (6-8) and Kurt Rafdal (6-7). Beckton said those are "his kind" of tight ends, noting that he recruited both while at UCF.
"The biggest thing those guys have shown me is that they can catch the football," Beckton said. "They've got really good ball skills. Right now they're a little bit weaker as far as in the weight room, but I've seen improvement there."
The Husker staff also had a connection to sophomore Jack Stoll, the only returning tight end with a reception to his name. Offensive coordinator Troy Walters, who was at Colorado prior to joining UCF, had recruiting contact with Stoll.
As the "veteran" in the room, Beckton said he's leaning on Stoll this season.
"I think he's going to be the asset being able to really, really set the edge as far as blocking on the outside," Beckton said. "And then also being a legitimate threat in the passing game. I know the previous staff didn't use tight ends as much in the passing game, but he's shown the ability to obviously block, which is his mainstay. He's very physical and dominating. He wants to whip the guy in front of him."
Beckton also hit on Nebraska's two true freshmen, Katerian Legrone and Cameron Jurgens.
"They're very, very athletic tight ends," he said. "Katerian Legrone is more of your receiving type, more of a pass catcher. He's just got to learn a little more as far as the blocking aspect of things.
"Cam Jurgens, obviously, he's more of that dominant, physical blocker. But he needs to improve on the passing side of things. I'm very excited about both those guys, what they bring, because they come to work every single day. They've done everything everybody asked of them this summer."
Not to oversimplify things, but based on those quick descriptions you've got two sets of strength profiles –– blocking (Stoll, Jurgens) and receiving (Rafdal, Allen, Legrone). As a unit that's not a bad complement of skill sets, but in this offense, which wants to run plays at a high tempo without subbing it will be interesting to watch as fall camp progresses if any of that group starts to become more of a do-everything tight end. Nebraska is going to want one of those.
The Grab Bag
- You may not have noticed, but Ivy League football is getting good.
- ESPN's playoff predictor gives Clemson the best chance of making the four-team playoff.
- Paul Myerberg of USA Today looks at how Ohio State could thrive in a post-Urban Meyer era (should that come to pass). Hint: Look to Norman.
- ICYMI: Greg Smith looks at the Huskers recruiting success this cycle without the benefit of official visits, Mike Babcock revisits the 1983 win over Syracuse and Jacob Padilla on Nebraska's battle for place-kicking duties.
Today's Song of Today