For the first time in 3 years, there are questions and concerns at the tight end position.
Graduated are longtime contributors Ben Cotton and Kyler Reed. The lone returning tight end with significant playing experience is senior Jake Long. Long (6-4, 240), who is the twin brother of offensive guard Spencer Long, has appeared in 30 career games with four starts to his credit. While he does not have the size and blocking prowess of Cotton or possess the athleticism of Reed, Long is a nice mix of the two and knows the offense as well as anyone on the team. Long's lack of opportunity thus far as a Husker had more to do with the talent of the guys he is succeeding than it did his ability. With the lack of experience behind him, Long is the clear favorite to start in the fall.
Vying for the No. 2 job behind Long are a trio of youngsters who coincidentally, are all graduates of Lincoln Southeast. Redshirt freshman Sam Cotton (6-4, 235) and Trey Foster (6-0, 240) along with sophomore David Sutton (6-3, 240). Only Sutton, who played in three non-conference games in 2012 has any game experience. Sam Cotton is little brother to the graduated Ben and also that of offensive guard Jake Cotton as well. Sam will be coached by his father, Barney Cotton, who has moved over from coaching the offensive line this year. Sam impressed on the scout team while redshirting and gaining strength last year. Like Jake Long, Cotton is a nice blend of his predecessors and shows good hands and effort as a blocker. Sutton and Foster have shown promise on the scout team while developing in the weight room.
Nebraska signed two tight ends in their 2013 recruiting class. Greg Hart (6-5, 225) from Ohio and Louisiana standout Cethan Carter (6-4, 230). Hart has a nice set of hands and could contribute early as a receiving target but will likely need a redshirt year while he develops his frame and works to add mass. Carter played fullback, H-Back and tight end in high school and that versatility could be an asset, even as a true freshman. Carter is a physical and productive blocker who also has a good pair of hands and can help move the chains as a receiver. In high school, Carter had a reputation for liking contact and displayed some nastiness while finishing blocks. Primarily used as a blocker during his sophomore and junior years, Carter finally had the chance to show off his pass-catching potential as a senior. Taylor Martinez recently named Carter as someone who has come in and impressed him thus far.
Possible 2013 Depth Chart:
1. Jake Long (Sr.)
2. Cethan Carter (Fr.)
3. Sam Cotton (RFr.)
4. David Sutton (So.)
5. Trey Foster (RFr.)
Prior to contributing to HuskerMax, Jeremy Pernell co-founded the all football website N2FL.com. He served as the editor in chief of the college football portion of the website which focused heavily on recruitment and talent analysis, including the NFL Draft. You can email him at N2FL@hotmail.com.