Last season we saw that the tight end position in the Husker offense is extremely important. They are intricate in both blocking and the ability to catch passes as well. Prime example, sophomore Jack Stoll was the third leading receiver in terms of yards with 245, fourth on the team in receptions at 21, and third on the team in touchdowns with three. Tight end head coach Sean Beckton has done a great job with this group and they showed improvement each week last season. As the offense evolves in year two of the Scott Frost Era, we will see if offensive coordinator Troy Walters gets this group more involved.
As mentioned previously, Jack Stoll played a pivotal role in the offense last season. He had a solid year at 21 catches, 245 yards, and three touchdowns. He was a reliable option all season long, especially in the red zone. He may be utilized even more with the departure of senior wide receiver Stanley Morgan Jr. as NU will be looking for more options in the passing game. The junior from Colorado will look to build off of that strong sophomore campaign and be a go-to guy.
Sophomore and Aurora native Austin Allen has an opportunity to make a major impact as well. Allen last year was used as a blocker primarily, but he did snare two passes for 54 yards. This season, Allen could be a major contributor in the red zone and on third downs especially because of his size as he towers over most defenders at 6’8. His weight is listed is now at 245 pounds and as many remember when he first stepped onto campus he was very thin and not filled out enough to play tight end in the Big Ten. Now, he’s got the size and ability to do so, he could have a breakout season.
The other tight end that showed flashes last season was sophomore Kurt Rafdal. Rafdal had just four catches for 67 yards. The Indiana native used his 6’7 frame well to bail out Nebraska on a few big third downs. Rafdal has a tremendous ability to run routes and get open. The area in which he needs to get better is blocking. If he can get the blocking aspect of the game down, Rafdal could be a guy that sees the field a lot more.
A couple of other players in the tight end position group that could make an impact are redshirt freshman Katerian Legrone and true freshman, Omaha Burke standout, and 3-star recruit Chris Hickman.
The Huskers will look for a balance in their passing game, and this group could help with that in a big way.