Important retention for Nebraska

There were a number of holes in the 2015 class. One of them though wasn't addressed until Mike Riley came to Lincoln and brought a tight end with him from Corvallis. Retaining that recruit was a defining moment in the class and with Mike Riley.

When the dust settles after signing day everyone will have their opinions about the immediate contributors of the class, the steals, the gems, etc. I am ready to call my shot now though on the most important and it will be Matt Snyder.

When Snyder got the Michigan offer and started the process to consider Michigan – like he should have – some of the relevance of the class started to hang in the balance. There wasn’t any panic on the side of the coaches offering additional tight ends. But if the Huskers lost Snyder in the eleventh hour there would have been a hole in the class.

The tight end position needs to be rebuilt at Nebraska. There is a need in any offense that wants to run and throw the football effectively to find a pair of Y’s that can cause headaches for the defense of the opposition.

There are four players last year that totaled more production than all of the players at the tight end spot. Only 10 receptions for less than 150 yards and three scores. Lack of health. Lack of target. Doesn’t really matter. It was a lack of production.

There are playmakers around Snyder who can stretch the field vertically, work in space and come across the middle. However, there is a need to work the short to intermediate routes effectively as well as get their opportunity to make the big play.

Snyder can be that guy for the Huskers. There will be a need though for a player or two to step up around him though to become a tandem. Odd on favorites are likely Cethan Carter and Sam Cotton who are both juniors. There are also plenty of options to play the H and possibly U in some sets.

Some might say at this point that I am getting ahead of myself. That similarly to the quarterback position there will be difficulty to unseat Carter and Cotton. And to them I would say that I didn’t agree.

The tight end position wasn’t an “every down” position on the field under Bo Pelini unlike the quarterback while on offense. More than that, it was under Pelini and Beck. Snyder is Mike Riley’s guy.

And give credit where it is due. When you look at the commitment list on signing day and you still see Matt Snyder’s name that will be because of not only tremendous effort by Riley and his staff, but about the connection that Riley, Matt and his family made stemming all the way back to Oregon State.

Michigan. Harbaugh. And all of the tight ends that Harbaugh has put in the league while at Stanford and also worked with while at Stanford was a lot to compete against. But, when you have relationship through time you get that true feel and understanding for how things will be with a person based on time of thick and thin.

The early enrollers in Lincoln will play. They will play well. They are incredibly talented. However, to me, if there was a need that I felt like needed to be addressed and wasn’t addressed until Mike Riley was hired and Matt Snyder was in the class.


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