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Nebraska Spring Football Previews: Tight Ends

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Sean Beckton’s tight ends look to give the Husker offense a much needed pick-me-up

NCAA Football: Nebraska at Colorado Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Position Coach: Sean Beckton

Breakdown By Class

  • Seniors: 0
  • Juniors: 2
  • Sophomores: 0
  • Redshirt Freshmen: 1
  • Freshmen: 5

Departed:

  • Brian Perez – Was said to be in the Transfer Portal but can’t be found.
  • Kurt Rafdal – Transfer Portal
  • Jared Bubak – Transfer Portal
  • Jack Stoll – Departing for the NFL

Projected Starter:

  • Austin Allen

Overview:

Although Nebraska tight ends coach Sean Beckton had to say good-bye to Brian Perez, Kurt Rafdal (Transfer Portal), Jared Bubak (Transfer Portal) and Jack Stoll (NFL), we borrow these iconic words from the one and only Harry Caray to describe Nebraska’s tight end room next fall. It might be, it could be, it is the strength of Scott Frost’s offense!

Obviously, we won’t know the strength of anything until The Big Red tees it up, kicks it off and plays a few games next fall. But Beckton’s crew sure has the look of a position that could dominate. And we’re not here to slight any of the departing tight ends either. My gosh, Stoll put together a solid career at Nebraska, catching 61 balls for 657 yards and six scores.

All set for an All-B1G season and off to a fast start in the season opener against Ohio State a year ago, Stoll injured his knee in first half action against the Buckeyes. Austin Allen stepped in and bullied Husker opposition by catching 18 balls for 236 yards and a touchdown during a Covid shortened season in which he played in all eight games and started seven.

Allen, who stretches the tape at 6-foot, 8-inches, continues to get better at freeing up Husker ball carriers and should have another fine season catching the football for Beckton. Junior Travis Vokolek, who played in every game and started three a year ago, is one of five other Husker tight ends that stands either 6-5 or 6-6.

Vokolek has 26 catches for 289 yards and a pair of touchdowns in a career that has spanned three seasons collectively between Nebraska and Rutgers. Then, when you throw in a recruiting class that reeled in the nation’s top tight end in Thomas Fidone II, James Carnie and AJ Rollins, it’s easy to see why Husker quarterback Adrian Martinez must be eager to get 2021 rolling.

Not only does Fidone catch everything that is thrown his way, he possesses 4.6-second in the 40 speed and a 37-inch vertical. A First-Team All-American by MaxPreps following his senior season at Lewis Central High School in Council Bluffs, Iowa, Fidone caught 43 passes for 845 yards and 10 touchdowns, bringing his junior-senior total to 82 catches for 1,421 yards and 17 scores collectively.

Not to be outdone by Fidone, Carnie caught 38 aerials for 594 yards and 11 touchdowns for Norris High School last fall while Omaha Creighton Prep’s Rollins was also one of the Class of 2021’s Top 45 tight end prospects according to 247sports.com. Redshirt-freshman John Goodwin and freshmen Evan Meyersick and Nate Boerkircher are also looking to earn their share of playing time as talk of redshirt-freshman receiver Chris Hickman joining the tight end room continues.

Possessing great size and length – and plenty of talent – to dominate in the Red Zone, Beckton’s tight ends could pull the plug on Nebraska’s inability to unleash the flood of points Nebraska fans have been expecting since Scott Frost’s return to Husker Nation in 2018.

Full Roster

2021 Nebraska Tight Ends

Untitled

NO. Player POS. HT. WT. Grade Home Town / Previous School
NO. Player POS. HT. WT. Grade Home Town / Previous School
11 Austin Allen TE 6-8 260 Jr. Aurora, Neb. / Aurora
49 Nate Boerkircher TE 6-4 220 Fr. Aurora, Neb. / Aurora
81 James Carnie TE 6-5 220 Fr. Roca, Neb. / Norris
24 Thomas Fidone II TE 6-5 220 Fr. Council Bluffs, Iowa / Lewis Central
46 John Goodwin TE 6-2 255 R-Fr. Lincoln, Neb. / Lincoln High
48 Evan Meyersick TE 6-5 185 Fr. Omaha, Neb. / Millard West
86 AJ Rollins TE 6-6 230 Fr. Omaha, Neb. / Creighton Prep
83 Travis Vokolek TE 6-6 260 Jr. Springfield, Mo. / Kickapoo HS/Rutgers