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SI99 Member, No. 2 TE-Y Thomas Fidone Talks Nebraska Commitment

Nebraska reeled in one of the top tight end prospects in the class of 2021 Wednesday night in SI99 member Thomas Fidone, who broke down the decision with SI All-American.

Thomas Fidone, the No. 2 Tight End-Y and a member of the inaugural SI99, has come off the board. 

Announcing a verbal commitment during a KETV broadcast, the rising senior recruit says he will play his college football at Nebraska. 

The 6-foot-5, 226-pound prospects picked the Huskers over finalists Iowa, Michigan and LSU. The defending national champs made the NU recruiting victory the toughest. 

"I've been kind of battling back and forth between two schools for a while, LSU and Nebraska were my top two," Fidone told SI All-American. "I had the best relationship with both of them. Probably in the last month or so, I started to gain more with one school over the other. 

"I took, I guess an unofficial to Nebraska two or three weeks ago. It's kind of a funny story. There's this Nebraska commit group chat; there's probably four or five Nebraska commits within a 70-100 mile radius of me. One of them goes to school 20 minutes away and I've known him for a while just through football and camps and stuff. We ended up all going to his house. It was me, Teddy Prochazka, Henry Lutovsky, Seth Malcom and Heinrich Haarberg. We all went to Teddy Prochazka's house, then all went to Nebraska..."

Spending time on the NU campus, with a group of commitments, wasn't a night Fidone would soon forget. 

"That was definitely a turning point for me," he said. "Nebraska has been struggling for the last two-three years about their turning point. They haven't gotten to that point that they're rolling. I think the players now that they bought in...I've seen Coach (Sean) Beckton walk in the weight room randomly and every player will be in there working out when it's not mandatory. They'll be lifting after practice, just getting the work in to change the culture. 

"There's definitely a culture change going on right there. I think (Scott) Frost is playing a big role in that. He wants to play for a reason, I don't think he wants to play to show the nation they're going to get their ass whooped every game. He wants to play because he knows they have something to prove. That obviously sticks out to me. It's a big reason why Nebraska is my fit."

The Frost-led pitch wasn't singular in execution. Many NU coaches spent considerable time on the semi-local standout who plays at Council Bluffs (Iowa) Lewis Central, located some five minutes from the Nebraska border.

"I have a great relationship with every single coach on the squad at Nebraska. Tight ends coach, Coach Beckton, is a great guy, great coach," Fidone said. "He's in the coaching hall of fame over at UCF. I like him a lot, I like the way he recruits me. I like the way he works with tight ends. He sends me videos every day so we can see development from each player until they get better."

Frost, Beckton and other coaches came to Nebraska from UCF, where the Knights' undefeated 2017 campaign included claiming its own national title. A key cog in the passing attack is how the Big Ten staff helped sell the role one of the nation's best will play once in Linocln for good.

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"Nebraska wants to use me as a hybrid, obviously I'm gonna be in-line, but I'm also gonna play the No. 1 (receiver) and No. 2. I know I'll fit in well there, with their offense," he said. "Remember Jordan Akins from UCF? I've been watching a ton of film on him and how Coach Beckton used him. He's texted me about how coach is...What he's shown me, what coach has said and that visit has just kind of made everything feel right and it's the best decision for me."

Once Fidone does make it to that next level there won't be a shortage of immediate goals to chase. Two days before his first game as a senior in high school, college goals are already outlined.  

"If anyone knows me, I'm gonna be the hardest worker in the room," he said. "If there's competition, I'm gonna rise to that level and do what I've got to do to play. I have goals and aspirations at the next level and I'm not gonna stop til I get there. I'm gonna try and be on that freshman All-American team. 

"I'm just excited, I've got a lot of things I want to accomplish and now I'm one step closer." 

Fidone, who is ranked as the No. 45 overall prospect in the class of 2021 as a member of the SI99, kicks off his senior season Friday night as Lewis Central travels to Sergeant Bluff (Iowa) Luton.

More SI99 Coverage

Inaugural SI All-American SI99 Released

College Programs Dominating the SI99

SIAA's 2021 Rankings by Position

SI99: Prospects Knocking on the Door


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