Iowa State football coach Matt Campbell and his team lacked production at the tight end position in the 2017 season. But after a strong 2018 campaign, the Cyclone tight ends are now met with some expectations before the 2019 season.
“The role since I’ve been here of the tight end position has just expanded,” redshirt junior tight end Chase Allen, said. “With coach Manning coming back this year after working with tight ends in the NFL, we learned a lot on how to use tight ends.”
Allen put together a few starts with the Cyclones early last season. He had eight receptions through five games for 84 yards. Allen is listed as the top tight end on the depth chart, but backup redshirt sophomore Charlie Kolar made a big impact last season after Allen left with an injury.
Kolar caught 11 passes last year for 137 yards, but he also was able to get into the end zone three times. What tight ends are often asked for in an offense is to be a big red zone threat for the quarterback to find as the defense gets more bunched up. Kolar was able to be that for sophomore quarterback Brock Purdy last season.
“We go as the offense goes,” Kolar said. “We just worry about wins and losses.”
Allen and Kolar will be factors in the offense this season for the Cyclones, but there is one more name to be thrown into the ring.
Dylan Soehner will operate somewhat in the same role that Sean Seonbuchner did last year, but Soehner will still be doing his own thing.
“I think he kind of expects me to kind of expand the position in the [passing] game a little bit,” Soehner said.
Soehner adds more length to a tight end core that is already overflowing in that area, but he'll be playing a slightly different role than the other two.
With Kolar and Allen, the Cyclones will be using two tight end sets a lot this year, according to Campbell.
Innovation with the offense is the main focus this season, and with wide receiver Hakeem Butler and running back David Montgomery lost to the NFL, the offense will need to try some new things if they want any chance of matching last year’s production.
“You’re a receiver, you’re a blocker, you create gaps in the run game, but you also create mismatches in the passing game,” Campbell said about his tight end group.
When talking about the tight end depth, Campbell also mentioned freshman quarterback Easton Dean.
Campbell said that he and the coaching staff were working with him as a tight end, but nothing with that is set in stone.
Even if he does get relegated to the tight end position, Dean will likely not see the field this year as a freshman behind three capable older players.
The Cyclones will rely on all three of their tight ends, and for the first time in years, they have strong depth at the position.
“We’ve been studying ways to get our best 11 [players] on the field,” Allen said. “Whoever it maybe.”