Vokolek a welcomed addition at tight end
When it came to Nebraska adding some new players to its roster via transfer, tight end was not a position that was thought to be a spot Nebraska would be looking to bolster.
However, on June 11 former Rutgers tight end Travis Vokolek announced he had committed to the Huskers. Tight ends coach Sean Beckton said after he, head coach Scott Frost and offensive coordinator Troy Walters evaluated the Springfield, Mo. native and had him on campus for a visit they knew he'd be someone that could help the team and they're happy they did.
"Anytime we evaluate as a staff and we see a kid that we think can help our football team we’re going to do it," Beckton said about Vokolek. "Coach Frost and myself and Coach Walters we sat down and evaluated and made a decision and right now I’m really, really pleased. I know Coach Frost is and Coach Walters is also. He’s just going to add to the value with the rest of the guys that we have right now on offense, but we’re strong right now with the addition of him."
Even though the 6-foot-6, 250-pound Vokolek will have to sit out this season due to the NCAA transfer rules Beckton said he's been impressed with what he's seen so far this fall camp.
"Well, right now he’s looking extremely well," Beckton said about Vokolek. "He’s been better than I initially thought he would be. He moves extremely well. He’s a big, physical kid. He’s come in and learned. He’s only been here a few weeks, we’re just trying to keep it simple with him right now so he can get the base understanding of what we’re trying to do offensively, but we’re really happy with where he is right now."
Beckton isn't the only one that has been impressed with Vokolek as fellow tight ends Kurt Rafdal and Austin Allen say they're happy to have him in their position room as well.
"He’s a very quick learner. I mean he already knows basically the whole playbook and he just got here," Rafdal remarked. "He’s in the film room and he’s already been through a couple of fall camps at Rutgers so he knows how everything goes and he’s been doing really well."
Allen says he's thinks Vokolek will make an impact on the field next season, but is already making an impact in practice by giving the defense good looks.
“He’s going to be a dude next year," Allen said. "He’s got great hands, he’s a big body, he’s blocking guys down the field. He’s going to be a great addition to us next year. Having him as competition in fall camp is awesome because he looks like a Big Ten tight end and that’s what the defense is going to get so that’s what they’re seeing. It’s awesome that they brought him into fall camp."
Of course, any time you bring in a transfer player there's a risk that it could ruffle some feathers within that specific position group. That doesn't appear to be the case with Vokolek though as Beckton says he's been a welcomed addition to the group and has only raised the level of competition.
"It’s a competition, every single day we step on the field," Beckton said. "We compete in meetings, we compete at everything we do, we compete in our individual drills so it’s just going to add to the value of the whole overall scheme of what we’re trying to do with the tight ends and maybe be able to create a situation where we’ll be able to play with four guys on the field at the tight end spot.
"So when I talk to those guys they know that they’re all going to play if they’re capable of playing and right now, his future is bright."
Vokolek played as a true freshman for Rutgers in 2017 and last season, as a sophomore, he started seven games for the Scarlet Knights. He recorded 16 catches for 184 yards and two touchdowns on the year which was good for fourth on the team in receiving and tied for the lead in touchdown catches.
Vokolek will have two years of eligibility remaining to play for the Huskers after using his redshirt this fall.