In a spring-game setting, new guys always offer the most intrigue. “Let’s get a look at the new recruits.” Literally in this case.
Perhaps the greatest source of new-guy intrigue, and the top-rated signee in Nebraska’s 2021 class, won’t be available on Saturday or for a while.
Scott Frost announced Wednesday that highly-touted freshman tight end Thomas Fidone suffered a knee injury and was scheduled for surgery on Thursday.
Non-contact knee injury for Thomas Fidone. Surgery tomorrow. Scott Frost says there’s maybe a chance for him to get back middle of the season. #Huskers
— Derek Peterson (@DrPeteyHV) April 28, 2021
According to his coaches, Fidone was making rapid progress this spring. This was the starting point after two practices in early April.
“Well the first two days for him, the game is faster than he experienced in high school,” tight ends coach Sean Beckton said on April 1. “So, he’s got to understand the pace of play. Our guys move. They are bigger, faster and stronger. Then all of the details that he wasn’t coached in high school, he’s got to understand details help you win routes. Details help you win blocking schemes and all those different things.
“He’s really starting to see, ‘Hey coach, I still don’t know a whole bunch.’ So being a highly-touted kid, he’s very, very humble and is working extremely hard.”
Twenty days later, Beckton shared that Fidone had his best practice of the spring. After being “humbled,” Beckton’s word, Fidone took not just to the coaching he was receiving but also sought knowledge from the veterans in the room.
“It’s been a step-by-step process with him. He’s come in to work as soon as he got here,” Beckton said. “We’ve given him a lot of information and he’s done an unbelievable job.”
Nebraska’s tight end depth is still in good shape for the season ahead. Returning starters Austin Allen and Travis Vokolek give the Huskers’ a solid one-two punch with complementary skill sets. Chris Hickman, who spent most of last season working at wide receiver, has been practicing more fully as a tight end this spring.
Still, Fidone was likely to be a factor in 2021.
“Sky’s the limit for him . . .” Beckton said. “He’s starting to understand the techniques and how to practice on a college level. I’m really, really proud of where he’s come. We’ve just got to keep pressing him, but he’s going to help this football team.”
He still likely will, things are just a little delayed.
I will be back. Bigger, faster and stronger! I can promise you that! Every setback is set to have a major comeback! GBR pic.twitter.com/qcuWl6WxFP
— Thomas Fidone II ²⁴ (@ThomasFidone) April 28, 2021
Brandon is the Managing Editor for Hail Varsity and has covered Nebraska athletics for the magazine and web since 2012, Hail Varsity’s first season on the scene. His sports writing has also been featured by Fox Sports, The Guardian and CBS Sports.