Our first offensive position breakdown starts with the tight ends. This group was young and somewhat overshadowed by the wideouts in the passing game in 2018. Nebraska will likely need this group to step up and fill some of the void left by the graduation of Stanley Morgan, Jr. and Devine Ozigbo
Contributors in 2018
Every TE on the roster in 2018 was either a freshman, redshirt freshman, or sophomore. Cameron Juergens was listed as a tight end despite Scott Frost announcing that he was moving to offensive line. I didn’t include him below.
Jack Stoll, 6-4, 260, So., Lone Tree, Colo.; started all 12 games; 21 catches for 245 yards and 3 touchdowns
Kurt Rafdal, 6-7, 250, RFr., Carmel, Ind.; played in all 12 games; 4 catches for 67 yards and 0 touchdowns
Austin Allen, 6-8, 245, RFr.,Aurora, Neb.; played in all 12 games; 2 catches for 54 yards and 0 touchdowns
Katerian Legrone, 6-3, 235, Fr. Atlanta, Ga.; played in 3 games (redshirt preserved); 1 catch for 8 yards and 0 touchdowns
The following may have played, but did not register any statistics
Keaton Henry, 6-2, 234, So., Albion, Neb.
Branden Hohenstein, 6-4, 225, So., Jackson, Neb.
Bryson Krull, 6-3, 240, Fr., North Platte, Neb.
2019 Roster Changes
Cam Jurgens is still listed as a tight end on the 2019 roster, but I didn’t include him because of the switch to offensive line.
[Siren Sounds] New additions:
Chris Hickman, 6-6, 210, Fr., Omaha, Neb. - a three star tight end and early enrollee
Henry and Hohenstein are both no longer listed on the roster but I wasn’t able to track down any news on possible transfers or if they just decided to end their football careers.
Outlook for 2019
All of the statistical production for this position group returns with Stoll again being the presumed starter. Rafdal and Allen are both tall (really tall) targets for Adrian Martinez and might find some work especially in red zone situations. The Frost offense was supposed to be kind to tight ends, so it was a surprise to see so little receiving production out of this group.
On the other hand, when you have Stanley Morgan, Jr., JD Spielman, and Devine Ozigbo tearing things up on offense, the tight ends are probably going to be relegated to more of a blocking role. With Ozigbo and Morgan moving on to the NFL, there will be a big hold to fill in terms of offensive production.
Will it be the tight ends that help cushion the blow to the offense? We did see them emerge more as the 2018 season progressed. The potential is certainly there and if the growth we saw in 2018 continues, it could be an important group in determining the success of the 2019 football season.