Tight end not a necessity? This one might be

You'd think that of all the positions for Nebraska tight end is the one where there is the least need and certainly the least thought of as needing a junior college player brought in as perhaps a solution to either depth or problems fielding a good staring line up. But when they're good, you go after them, which is what Nebraska is doing with Chase Harper.

Nebraska has some good tight ends. That goes without saying. Juniors Michael McNeill and Dreu Young rank as Nebraska's best returning playmakers when it comes to catching the ball. And then there are a host of other younger players like redshirt freshmen Kyler Reed and Ben Cotton who already have a lot of expectations as far as what they are going to do.

There is never a position that is so set in its depth that you can't use another good one. But if there is a position close to that tight end is it.

But when you're good, you're good.

At 6-6 and close to 250 pounds Navarro College (Corsicana, TX) sophomore Chase Harper is just that. While he hasn't played yet at the junior college level, opting to redshirt his freshman year last season, you go back to his prep days in Austin, TX (John B Connally HS), with an average of almost 20 yards per catch, this young man could make some plays.

He was a wide receiver then, and despite the added weight since his prep days were finished, Harper takes that mentality now. "I'm a big wide receiver, because I don't think a lot pure tight  ends can do as much after the catch as I can. That's what I consider one of my biggest strengths," he said. "I was always bigger than anyone else I went up against. But being big isn't all that matters. You have to be able to run."

Part of that athleticism also served him well as a basketball player, both at the prep level and in junior college. It's part of what his current Head Coach thinks makes him special, even though Harper has only played one game for them, this year's Spring Game. "He's big, he's athletic and he's got good instincts for the ball. I know he's going to be a good player for us," Nick Bobek said. "He's really got the full package. So, we're excited to see what he does this year."

Harper is excited too. From his prep days to Iowa State where he initially committed and then to junior college, because he didn't qualify academically, he's ready to hit the field. "Oh yeah, I want to play. It seems like it's been forever," he said. "I just want to get out there, help my time and show people what I can do."

He's already convinced plenty of other teams, which include Nebraska, of course, but also Miami, Baylor, Kansas State and the new staff at his original school, Iowa State.

When it comes to the Huskers, Harper has a very good rapport with Husker Tight End Coach Ron Brown, who has been recruiting him since the beginning. And of Brown Harper said that he did something that up to that point he said no other coach had done. "He was the first coach I met who I could honestly say cared about me as a person. He actually cared what I thought, what I did and about my life," Harper said. "Everyone wants to get better as a player, but as a person is just as important. And with coaches like that I know I could there."

Harper said that he calls Brown no less than three times a month.

As of right now Harper looks at Nebraska as his clear leader, because of the comfort level he's developed with Brown. But Nebraska's offense certainly doesn't hurt. "I know at times they have three tight ends on the field at once, because of some of the formations they have," he said.

He'll have to wait until his season begins before he can officially go and see these schools which are the most interested in him. Nebraska is the one he says he has set up, but couldn't recall just when that would be. But Miami is in the works as a potential official to Norman, Oklahoma. The Sooners and he have been in consistent contact, along with, of course, Nebraska.

But he's waiting until his visits before he gets everything sorted out, but just out of familiarity the Huskers right now have the lead. It will be up to the other schools to trump that if they are going to sway Harper to another direction. "I just know a lot about them, and there is no program I am as comfortable with as them," he said. "But once I visit these other places I will have a much better idea of just where everything stands."

Harper will have three years to play three at the next level.

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