Munson's Thoughts: So what now?

It wasn't supposed to go down this way for Nebraska. The Husker staff had been "all over" Beau Sandland since March. Sandland visited Nebraska back in June and some unofficial reports had Sandland pondering committing while in Lincoln. Sandland was supposed to be that junior college piece to go along with Greg Hart. So what does Nebraska do now?

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It's onto "Plan B" for Nebraska which really isn't a Plan B at all. The Nebraska staff planned ahead to some extent before Beau Sandland from Los Angeles (Calif.) Pierce committed and signed with Miami today. The Husker staff sensed a need to plan on things going exactly like they did today.

Palm Desert (Calif.) College of the Desert tight end Brandon Vandenburg picked up a Nebraska offer earlier this month. Without a lot of time in pursuit of Vandenburg, he named the Huskers as one of his top choices to go along with Vanderbilt and Miami. That spot with Miami is likely gone now.

There are some other offers though to be concerned about with the JUCO tight end. Tennessee and Cincinnati are places who have named head coaches, still looking for a tight end. But no one, can present an opportunity to Vanderburg like Nebraska.

Try two starters gone from their roster. Both Kyler Reed and Ben Cotton graduate and were important parts of a potent Nebraska offense. With their departure comes a hole of 29 receptions for 514 yards and four touchdowns.

Those aren't top of the top numbers. Joseph Fauria of UCLA hauled in 11 touchdowns. Guys like Zach Ertz from Stanford and Austin Seferian-Jenkins from Washington had 63 receptions a piece. But after those three guys the numbers look similar for the most to Nebraska's tight end production.

And, I was only giving the numbers of the departing tight ends of Cotton and Reed. There was also Jake Long who hauled in six passes for 55 yards and a score. So, there is at least a tendency by Taylor Martinez, in the Nebraska offense, to target the tight end potentially 35 to 40 receptions, over 500 yards, and five scores.

That is tough to argue. Yes, Nebraska lost a graduate assistant in Vince Marrow, who took a full-time job at Kentucky, and who was helping out as the tight ends coach. Even if he was the tight ends coach though it's not like there aren't coaches on the Nebraska staff currently who are incapable of coaching the position.

In fact, Kyler Reed's best year was his sophomore year when Ron Brown was his coach. As a sophomore, Reed hauled in 22 passes for nearly 400 yards and eight scores.

So while Nebraska looks for an answer to replacing the production and the bodies on the roster, you can't forget about one already. Greg Hart has been on-board with Nebraska for a while now. Hart is being touted as the heir apparent to Reed in the Nebraska offense. The senior needs help though.

Nebraska will need to seal the deal with a guy like Vandenburg and I wouldn't be surprised if another high school offer or two is extended to some tight ends. But, what about from within? There is Long, but as Yoda would say, "No, there is another."


I am talking about another Cotton; Sam Cotton to be exact. Cotton, a player that many had second in the state to Drew Ott from Giltner in 2012, is shaping up and building up nicely in Lincoln. I keep hearing that it's believed that Sam is going to end up looking a lot like older brother Ben.

Sam is listed at 6-foot-4 and 230-pounds on the roster now, but I am hearing he's a little bigger than that. Brother Ben ended up being listed at 6-foot-6 and 255-pounds. That would be ideal for Sam, but even a little shorter won't hurt all that much.

There is no question losing Sandland hurts a little bit for Nebraska. Getting that one in the hand, in for spring ball, would have been ideal. There are clearly people that will be there to feed the ball to though when Hart gets to town.

I don't doubt that Nebraska will still give chase to Vandenburg and possibly others. There are going to be some huge benefactors out of the opportunities in the Nebraska offense, where you will need to put your hand on the ground and do some dirty work along with the grabs, that someone is going to be fortunate to see.

Bryan Munson has worked with Big Red Report for 10 years covering recruiting and football and has covered Nebraska recruiting for 12 years.
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