Nebraska Cornhuskers Position Breakdowns: Tight Ends

Big Red NetworkSenior Writer IApril 24, 2008

Outlook: The Huskers have neither a lot of size nor a lot of experience at tight end going into the fall. This group lacks the stout blocking tight end of years past like Aaron Golliday or William Washington who seemed like extra linemen. Playing time may still be very much up for grabs going into the fall based on who can add the most good weight over the summer.

Incumbent: Senior walk-on Hunter Teafatiller is the most seasoned returning player at tight end, appearing in ten games. At 230 lbs., he’s one of the heavier players at the position but that hardly makes him an imposing figure physically when tight ends can often go 260 lbs. or more.

Rising Star: Mike McNeil appeared in seven games a year ago and is thought to be the most naturally gifted receiver of the bunch. Many believe he could make a big splash in the passing game this season. At 225 lbs., he’s still undersized for blocking purposes.

In-The-Mix: Walk-on Dreu Young appeared in eight games a year ago and seems likely to get on the field this season. At 220 lbs., he’s definitely skinnier than you’d like to see.

Enigma: Freshman Ryan Hill redshirted in 2007 and at 230 lbs. is among the bigger tight ends in the group. He was recruited for his receiving skills but if he can continue to develop physically he could force the coaches to use him in short-yardage situations as blocker.

Odd Man Out?: Sophomore walk-on Ben Tasa has neither distinguished himself as a receiver nor bulked up to where he’s at an advantage physically over the other tight ends. As much as any player, he’d benefit from a big summer in the weight room and at the training table.

On The Horizon: At 245 lbs., junior newcomer Tyson Hetzer could contribute immediately as the biggest tight end in the group, but injuries have slowed him down and could put him too far behind in terms of learning the offense to see the field. True freshman Ben Cotton arrives in the fall but at 217 pounds would clearly benefit from a redshirt year to bulk up.