HuskerOnline - Spring Look Back: Tight End
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Spring Look Back: Tight End

We continue our spring positional recaps today by giving our final take on Nebraska's tight ends.

Related: QB | RB | WR

WHAT WE LEARNED: Allen and Vokolek are a solid 1-2

As Nebraska heads into 2021, they appear to have their best 1-2 combo at tight end in several years.

Juniors Austin Allen and Travis Vokolek are both proven commodities, and they are going to have a very big role in this offense both as receivers and blockers.

The coaching staff feels Allen is a legitimate NFL prospect moving forward, and with the premium value placed around tight ends, Vokolek could easily find himself in that category too.

Last year both players had moments that showed what they can do for this offense, and that's only going to grow in 2021 as NU places more emphasis in featuring the tight end.

BIGGEST SPRING CONCERN: Losing Fidone to injury 

Freshman Thomas Fidone came to Nebraska as the highest-ranked high school recruit since 2008, and there were high hopes in carving out a role for him this season.

Unfortunately, Fidone went down with a knee injury and his timeline to return is unknown.

The best-case scenario is the Huskers play four games over the final six weeks of the season, and hopefully, there's some opportunity to work him in and utilize the four-game redshirt rule with Fidone in 2021.

Walk-on tight end Nate Boerkircher.
Walk-on tight end Nate Boerkircher. (Tyler Krecklow)

SPRING SURPRISE: Nate Boerkircher 

We know so much about all the scholarship tight ends in the program, but one walk-on that put his name on the map is Aurora native Nate Boerkircher.

The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Boerkircher has put himself in the conversation to be the third tight end after the injury to Fidone.

He's going to add solid depth and competition to Sean Beckton's position room, and if both Allen and Vokolek move on to the NFL after this season, he could easily find himself in the rotation for playing time by 2022.

LOOKING AHEAD: Defining tight end roles 

The challenge now for Beckton and his tight end room is defining roles for the 2021 season.

We know both Allen and Vokolek are going to take a lot of snaps this season. After the injury happened to Jack Stoll last year, they took nearly all the reps down the stretch.

The other question I have is who works in the third tight end spot? Third-year freshman Chris Hickman probably would be that guy today, but Boerkircher and true freshman James Carnie could also battle for time.

NU will add freshman AJ Rollins to the roster this summer, and it will be interesting to see how he develops at the position.