Without Hakeem Butler and Matthew Eaton, the Iowa State receiving corp will feature several players are inexperienced or are in new roles.
Veteran Dashaunte Jones and promising underclassman Tarique Milton are the only two players named as de facto starters, as three players will compete for the starting spot as the Z receiver.
Butler was the team's go-to option in the passing game and pulled in over 1,000 receiving yards as the starting X receiver while Eaton was a reliable secondary option on the perimeter and was the team's starting Z receiver.
Aside from catching passes, Iowa State’s receivers are expected to be involved as blockers. Butler and Eaton both worked as blockers — and were often times able to physically dominate smaller defensive backs — which helped open running lanes for Cyclone ball carriers.
Senior Deshaunte Jones is the most experienced receiver on Iowa State’s roster, and has 108 receptions and 1,175 receiving yards in his career. He had 43 catches, 366 yards and four receiving touchdowns — the second most of any receiver behind Butler, who had nine.
On the Cyclones' early-season depth chart, Jones is listed as the top option as the team’s M receiver. The M receiver is primarily the team's slot receiver.
Taking over for Butler as the X receiver is sophomore Tarique Milton, who was second on the team in receiving yards as a redshirt freshman last season. Milton registered 34 catches, 417 yards and a touchdown. Butler led the team in receiving yards last season with 1,318.
At 5 feet 10 inches tall, Milton doesn’t have the height of Iowa State’s previous X receiver, who stands 6 feet 6 inches tall, or Allen Lazard, who is 6 feet 5 inches tall. Milton did display the ability to beat defensive backs deep and to create separation in running routes.
Depending on opponents' defensive schemes, Milton will be facing other teams’ top defensive back options and won’t have Butler drawing extra defenders; he will need to show he can still create separation in his routes.
Sean Shaw Jr.
The youngest of the three players competing for the starting Z receiver spot this summer, Shean Shaw Jr. is only a redshirt freshman, but he has tremendous size at 6 feet 6 inches tall.
A three-star recruit, Shaw was the 91st-best receiver in the class of 2018 according to 247Sports. Besides Iowa State, Shaw also had offers from Southern Methodist and Kansas.
As a high school senior in Oklahoma, Shaw reeled in 65 catches for 1,162 yards and 18 touchdowns.
Senior Jalen Martin, who is competing for the starting Z receiver position, has been on the Cyclones’ roster more than the other two players. Martin played in four games last season — primarily on special teams — and didn’t record a reception, but Martin did have more of an impact in 2017.
He played all 13 games for Iowa State on special teams and recorded his first career reception against Kansas. Against the Jayhawks, Martin finished with two receptions for 22 yards.
A graduate transfer from Arkansas, La'Michael Pettway will play his last collegiate season next year, and will compete with Shaw and Martin for the starting spot at Z.
At Arkansas, Pettway played in 12 games and led the team with 30 receptions and 499 receiving yards, and also tallied four touchdowns.
Pettway is the most experienced of the three players competing for the starting Z role, and Pettway could quickly establish himself as the starter if he can get a firm grasp on Iowa State’s offensive system.
Redshirt junior Landen Akers will be Jones’ primary backup at the slot position, and he will be able to provide depth and experience as the team’s No. 2 option.
Akers had 10 catches for 181 yards last season.
Joseph Scates, a redshirt freshman, will be competing with sophomore Darren Wilson to be Milton’s backup as the X receiver.
Scates was a four-star recruit coming out of high school and was the 44th-best receiver in the nation, according to 247Sports.
As a high school senior, Scates had 37 catches, 966 receiving yards and 20 touchdowns receptions.
Wilson transferred to Iowa State from Butler Community College in Kansas after playing just one season there. Wilson was ranked as the No. 74 junior college recruit in the country by 247Sports, and held offers from West Virginia and Buffalo before committing to Iowa State.
At Butler Community College, Wilson played in 10 games and had 20 catches for 390 yards.
Other position breakdowns: