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Nebraska football tight ends coach Tavita Thompson is the definition of a team player.

A four-time letter winner at Oregon State under current Nebraska head coach Mike Riley, Thompson’s work has mirrored that of a good offensive line’s. His name isn’t really uttered much until the questions arise about the Husker tight ends.

That said, he’s been the point man for recruiting the position. Wrapping up Austin Allen from Aurora, Neb. wasn’t too much of a challenge last cycle.

However, it was because of the former UFL player’s presence on the staff that Kurt Rafdal spurned all others for the Cornhuskers.

Working with the tight ends means that Thompson is molding players who must pay dividends in Nebraska’s offense. Riley needs these players to not only provide mismatches as receivers but happily participate in the running game.

All it really took to see what Thompson could provide in terms of helping his charges learn how to block was watching Cethan Carter work. He was arguably the Huskers’ best run blocker during his upperclassman years.

Now, Nebraska finds itself with talented players, but no one as established as Carter was.

Whether it’s Tyler Hoppes, Matt Snyder, Connor Ketter or David Engelhaupt, they all have a shot. Heck, it’s probably not a good idea to count out either of the twin towers from the 2017 recruiting class.

Regardless of all that, Thompson has done this for the love of the game. He’s not making the big bucks. Not yet.

He’s shown up, put in work and if you didn’t know otherwise, you’d swear he was a full-time assistant coach.

Enter the NCAA.

Legislation was passed on today that allows Football Bowl Subdivision schools to add a tenth assistant coach effective January of next year.

There is no one better suited for or more deserving of the position than Thompson. He has paid his dues, makes solid contributions to the program and does so with a smile on his face.

He is family. Now it’s time to pay him.

Pay that man his money.

A member of the Football Writers Association of America, Brandon has spent over a decade reporting on and researching college football, both the sport itself and recruiting.

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