The Iowa State tight end position group was expected to contribute to the Cyclone offensive effort in more ways than blocking. After 6 games, those expectations are finally starting to be met.
What the tight end group does well
It has seemingly taken a decade for tight end production to show up in Ames (4 years feels like a decade), and the main contributor right now is not exactly the player tabbed at the start of the season.
While Chase Allen has been sidelined by injury once again, which seems to be the epitome of his career to date, redshirt freshman Charlie Kolar has begun to percolate. Kolar, the Norman, OK native, has scored touchdowns on 2 of his 3 total receptions, which is a rather impressive statistic.
Allen, before getting hurt, showed great promise, catching 5 passes in 2 games for a total of 41 yards. Chase has shown the ability to make difficult catches throughout his young career, and is a great target on third down. The Cyclone offense is undoubtedly eager for him to return.
The other tight ends have once again displayed the solid blocking ability the offense benefited from a season ago. Both Dylan Soehner and Sam Seonbuchner have blocked very well for the Cyclones in 2018. Matt Campbell has also used them in rather creative ways, including pre-snap motion as well as pulling both to serve as lead blockers. Seonbuchner has even caught a few balls, including a 16-yard catch and run against Oklahoma State.
What the tight end group needs to improve
It has been refreshing to see this unit providing some offense, but their ceiling is much higher than the production we have seen up to this point.
We need to see more from this group in the passing game. For this to become a reality, Chase Allen needs to get healthy, and Purdy needs to continue to develop his confidence with Allen and Kolar. It would be especially beneficial to Purdy’s development if his tight ends can become go-to third down options.
In all, the grade for this position group sits firmly at a B+.
The fact that an Iowa State caught a touchdown for the first time since 2014 would tempt one to automatically bump that score full letter grade, but the play of this position group can still be better.
I do expect this group to grade out higher by the end of the season. A healthy Chase Allen, combined with Kolar, gives ISU two very real threats in the middle of the field. Allen’s blocking ability should also provide a boost to the ground attack as well.