Nebraska received a commit from Arlington (Texas) Martin tight end Ismael Smith Flores. Three takes on the decision on 6-foot-5, 210-pounder:
A high school wide receiver with size to grow into a tight end. Smith Flores is being recruited for the latter position by Iowa, Rutgers and Indiana. Nebraska could use a tight end signee in this class, too, although NU added three in the 2021 class and one last season in Brodie Tagaloa. Smith Flores’ skillset suggests a player closer to current Huskers Chris Hickman and Thomas Fidone, but the frame — and the teams recruiting him — suggest a guy who could get to 240 pounds without losing much speed.
Texas has blessed Nebraska in the 2023 cycle. That’s the way Matt Rhule planned it and wants it for the future, too. Smith Flores hails from the school where new NU tight ends coach Bob Wager just worked, so Smith Flores’ journey to NU makes sense. Given how the Huskers are making offers for 2024 and 2025 in the Lone Star State, it’s not a stretch to think they can average 5-7 Texas signees per year.
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The 2023 tight end competition won’t garner quarterback headlines, but it’s darned interesting. In the last three seasons, NU has lost three terrific players in Jack Stoll, Austin Allen and Travis Vokolek who combined for — get this — 166 catches for 2090 yards and 11 touchdowns over their Nebraska careers. That’s a lot to lose — and a lot of snaps they took up. So, as Wager takes over, things are wide open at the moment. Nate Boerkircher — eight career catches — will have tons of competition from transfer Arik Gilbert and the many scholarship tight ends now in the program, which includes Smith Flores.