When the 2017 Nebraska Football season kicks off, there are several positions where youngsters could be lining up for the first time, especially on offense. While most people think Tanner Lee will likely be under center, it's possible redshirt freshman Patrick O'Brien, or true freshman Tristan Gebbia could take that job. The talent at receiver almost guarantees at least one freshman getting good playing time there. It also seems likely there is going to be a true freshman either starting or seeing big time playing time at the tight end position.

Youth at tight end

The Nebraska football coaches knew there was going to be a bit of a depth problem at tight end in 2017; it's one of the reasons they recruited that position quite hard. That effort paid off in the form of both Kurt Rafdal and Austin Allen. Now that both are in the Husker program, the talented duo will be looking to show they can play on Saturdays right away. Youth possibly being at the top of the depth chart will be a change from 2016, when the three tight ends who saw the most action last season were all seniors. Cethan Carter, Ben Cotton, and Trey Foster are all graduated, and while it's possible one of the new upperclassmen could step up, the position battle appears to be one that is wide open.

The tight end position in this Nebraska football scheme

Cethan Carter especially showed just how important a talented tight end can be to Mike Riley's offense. Unfortunately for an attack that struggled, Carter showed that more in 2015 when he was a bit healthier. In 2015, he posted career highs in catches (24) receiving yards (329), touchdowns (2) long reception (55 yards) and even rushing yards (48).

Now, comes Rafdal and Allen who are both big-bodied tight ends who also have the ability to make a catch and turn it up field. Perhaps most importantly, the tight end position is going to be leaned upon when it comes to Nebraska football's newest quarterback when he needs a check down. The days of scrambling in this offense are over and that is going to mean more production from the position, as long as someone can step up.