The January issue of Hail Varsity is on its way to newsstands and subscribers in the days ahead. To preview the issue, which begins Volume 10 of Hail Varsity, here is this month’s letter from managing editor Brandon Vogel. Make sure you don’t miss an issue by subscribing today.
Tight end might be the trendiest position in football over the past decade or so. It’s always hard to pinpoint the start of any trend in this sport, but Bill Belichick’s New England Patriots typically get the credit for highlighting what feels like a pretty obvious point now—a big, athletic guy who can block on the line but also catch passes out of the backfield, from the slot or even out wide is a pretty darn good weapon to have.
And now, everybody wants one, though two would be better.
Nebraska signed three tight ends in the 2021 recruiting class—Thomas Fidone of Council Bluffs, Iowa, and two in-state signees, James Carnie of Roca and AJ Rollins of Omaha—that all fit the modern archetype to varying degrees. That all three will have to travel less than 70 miles to enroll at Nebraska feels like something of a sea change. The state has always played high quality, perhaps even underappreciated, football at the high school level, but rarely has it felt as “on trend” as it has of late.
Recruiting analyst Greg Smith explores the evolution of the position and garners some insight from the coaches of the three Husker signees in his feature story for this issue. Nebraska may be as deep at tight end as at any position as it turns its attention to 2021 with the start of winter workouts this month.
Deputy editor Erin Sorensen keeps things going on the recruiting front with an enlightening interview with 2021 signee and early enrollee Randolph Kpai. He has an extraordinary story as he gets ready to enroll in January.
This month also brings the long-awaited return of Nebraska volleyball. I touched on what a welcome return that will be in my monthly column, and staff writer Jacob Padilla offers some key updates for the upcoming season in his notebook. He also takes a moment to peek ahead a bit. It’s hard not to when Nebraska signed arguably its best class under Coach John Cook. That’s saying something given that the Huskers regularly rank at or near the top of the volleyball, and Jacob provides the story of how that group came together in this month’s cover feature.
Staff writer Derek Peterson had the opportunity to have a lengthy conversation with Athletic Director Bill Moos. There was a lot to get to after a year unlike any other in athletics, and Derek’s conversation with Moos serves as a comprehensive recap of 2020 as well as an important look at the year ahead.
Lastly, but only in terms of where it appears in the magazine, editor Mike Babcock reflects on Alabama’s most recent national title and its continued dominance of the sport, but through a Nebraska lens. Because, well, there was a time in the 1990s when that was Nebraska.
Add it all up and it makes for a January issue that simultaneously looks back and ahead at various points That is what January is for, right?
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.