|Position:||Assistant Coach - Tight Ends|
Veteran coach Sean Beckton is in his second season as Nebraska's tight ends coach in 2019. He is in his 24th season overall, having spent the first 22 years of his career coaching in the high school, collegiate and professional ranks in Florida.
Beckton came to Lincoln after spending 19 seasons at UCF, his alma mater, including serving as the Knights’ tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator under Scott Frost in 2016 and 2017. Beckton was one of the most important figures in the history of UCF football before deciding to follow Frost to Lincoln.
As a coach, Beckton helped the Knights win four of the six conference championships in UCF history and the program's only two New Year's Six bowl wins. Beckton also played a large role in the only unbeaten season in UCF history in 2017, when the Knights went 13-0 to complete the greatest two-year turnaround in NCAA history. As a player, Beckton concluded his career as UCF's all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards, and he and a teammate were the first two football players inducted into the UCF Athletics Hall of Fame.
In 2018, Beckton inherited a tight end unit that featured only freshmen and sophomores, including just one player who had ever played in a college game. Nebraska's tight ends combined for 28 catches, 374 receiving yards and three touchdowns in 2018. Jack Stoll led the way with 21 catches for 245 yards and three touchdowns, setting career highs in all three categories, while redshirt freshman Austin Allen led Nebraska with an average of 27.0 yards per reception and classmate Kurt Rafdal had four receptions for 67 yards, averaging 16.8 yards per catch. In addition to contributing to a Nebraska passing attack that averaged nearly 250 passing yards per game, the tight ends also added perimeter blocking for a Husker rushing attack that was the nation's third-most improved unit, gained more than 2,500 yards and had a 1,000-yard rusher for the first time in four seasons.
UCF: Beckton spent a total of 19 seasons at his alma mater, where he was a member of the coaching staff for four of the Knights’ first five conference titles in program history, including three American Athletic Conference championships his final five seasons. In his final season at UCF in 2017, Beckton helped the Knights post the first perfect season in program history and the first undefeated season in AAC history. UCF was the only FBS team to go undefeated in 2017, and the Knights finished with a No. 6 ranking after defeating No. 7 Auburn in the Peach Bowl.
Beckton contributed in a variety of ways to Frost’s success in his two seasons at UCF. Beckton’s tight ends helped UCF post the nation’s most improved offense in 2017, when the Knights led the nation in scoring and ranked fifth nationally in total offense. As UCF’s recruiting coordinator, he helped Frost land several of the Knights’ standout players. Sophomore quarterback McKenzie Milton was the 2017 American Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year and each of the Knights’ three leading rushers and four of the top six receivers were either freshmen or sophomores.
As the Knights’ tight ends coach, Beckton’s group recorded 87 catches for 1,345 yards and seven touchdowns the past two seasons. In 2017, the unit totaled 49 receptions for 818 yards and caught five touchdown passes while averaging 16.7 yards per reception. In 2016, UCF’s tight ends combined for 38 catches, 527 receiving yards and a pair of touchdown catches.
Individually, Jordan Akins posted his best two seasons under Beckton’s coaching. Akins set career highs with 32 receptions for 515 yards and four touchdowns as a senior in 2017, when he was a first-team all-conference selection and was named to the John Mackey Award preseason watch list. In 2016, Akins caught 23 passes for 347 yards. Following his senior season, Akins was selected in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft.
Before Frost’s arrival, Beckton coached the UCF wide receivers from 2012 to 2015, his second stint in that role. Working with a young unit in 2015, Tre’Quan Smith finished with 52 catches for 724 yards, both of which set UCF freshman records. The 2015 American Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year, Smith went on to be a first-team All-AAC selection and Biletnikoff Award nominee in 2017. In 2014, four Knights totaled 500 receiving yards for the first time in program history, led by Breshad Perriman’s 1,044 yards. Perriman went on to be a first-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. In 2013, three wideouts had at least 500 receiving yards to help UCF to a 12-1 record, an AAC title and a Fiesta Bowl win over Baylor. In Beckton’s first year coaching the wide receivers in 2012, the Knights totaled more than 3,100 receiving yards and 28 receiving touchdowns.
Beckton coached the wide receivers after leading the UCF defensive backs from 2009 to 2011. The Knights ranked in the top 25 nationally in passing defense in 2011 when cornerback Josh Robinson was a first-team all-conference selection before being selected in the third round of the 2011 NFL Draft. In 2010, UCF won 11 games, a Conference USA title and produced the program’s first bowl win and the school’s first national ranking. Two of Beckton’s defensive backs were first-team all-conference selections that season. In 2009, he guided Robinson to freshman All-America honors and helped converted quarterback Michael Greco earn an NFL free agent contract after just one year as a safety.
Beckton also coached the wide receivers at his alma mater for eight seasons from 1996 to 2003 in his first full-time collegiate coaching position. During that time he coached a slew of top wideouts, including three who went on to NFL careers. His most high-profile pupil was Brandon Marshall, who caught 74 passes for 1,195 yards in 2005 before being selected in the fourth round of the 2006 NFL Draft. Marshall played 13 seasons in the NFL and was a six-time Pro Bowler who has amassed 970 catches and 12,351 receiving yards. Beckton also received his start in the coaching profession as an offensive graduate assistant at UCF in 1992 and 1993.
ORLANDO PREDATORS (AFL): In addition to his 19 total seasons at UCF, Beckton coached the wide receivers for the Orlando Predators of the American Football League in 2008, helping the team to a 9-7 record and a playoff berth.
MAINLAND (FLA.) HIGH SCHOOL: Beckton also boasts experience in the prep ranks, as he was an assistant coach for Mainland (Fla.) High School from 1993 to 1996, where he also taught history. He helped Mainland to a pair of state championships and also worked with the basketball team, where he coached future NBA star Vince Carter.
Originally from Daytona Beach, Fla., Beckton was a star wide receiver at UCF from 1987 to 1990. He ended his career as the program’s all-time leader with 196 receptions and 2,493 receiving yards and was one of the first two football players to be enshrined in the UCF Athletics Hall of Fame. Against Texas Southern as a senior, Beckton scored a touchdown four different ways (passing, rushing, receiving and punt return).
Beckton earned his degree from Central Florida in liberal studies in 1993. He and his wife, Zorana, have one son, Sean Jr., and one daughter, Zaria. Sean Beckton Jr. is a performance intern with the Nebraska football team.
2018: Nebraska, Assistant Coach (Tight Ends)
2016-17: UCF, Assistant Coach (Tight Ends/Recruiting Coordinator)
2012-15: UCF, Assistant Coach (Wide Receivers)
2009-11: UCF, Assistant Coach (Defensive Backs)
2008: Orlando Predators (AFL), Assistant Coach (Wide Receivers)
1996-2003: UCF, Assistant Coach (Wide Receivers)
1993-96: Mainland (Fla.) High School, Assistant Coach
1992-93: UCF, Offensive Graduate Assistant