Ames Iowa State’s tight ends!
Seemingly, for the first time since the Nixon administration, Iowa State will have more than warm bodies that roughly know what a football is at the tight end position.
Since there really aren’t any newcomers or meaningful stats from this position group in 2017 (sigh), lets get down to business and talk about Iowa State’s three-headed monster at the TE position.
Let’s kick things off by talking about the clubhouse leader for both reddest hair and most-likely to catch nothing but first downs and touchdowns: Chase Allen. Allen, a redshirt sophomore, has looked impressive in fall camp, and is poised for a breakout 2018 campaign.
Chase redshirted his initial collegiate season due to a myriad of issues, which included but is not limited: to catching the bubonic plague and smallpox simultaneously as well as being hit by every single CyRide bus in the fleet.
While the blocking was certainly there in 2017, which was largely what led to him being honored as an all-conference player, Allen has the skill and athleticism to improve upon his 4 receptions last year, and should emerge as a short-yardage, screen play, and red-zone threat.
If Chase Allen is breakout candidate 1, then Soehner is 1A. While he was primarily used in power running packages last year, the coaches have raved about both his skill as a pass catcher and his excellent work during the off-season.
He also looks the part.
Can we talk about just how massive a human being Dylan Soehner is?
Soehner checks in at 6’7”, 271, which are the typical measurements of a high school offensive linemen the day he shows up on campus, and that weight is often a soft weight at that. There is nothing soft about Dylan Soehner, except for his hands of course. Which are also
The coaching staff will likely again utilize Soehner in power packages, but do not be surprised if you see both him and Allen on the field at the same time. You may even see both guys split wide with a receiver like Jones or Butler in the slot. Having mobile road-graders is quite a luxury.
To watch him catch passes and run over hapless defenders, check out his high school tape.
Charlie Kolar is really the only “newcomer” of the bunch, entering the 2018 season as a redshirt freshman. Kolar was highly touted out of high school, as he was a top 50 tight end prospect who wound up choosing Iowa State over Oklahoma State.
Kolar has decent size for his age, as he comes in at 6’6” and a shade over 250 pounds, but has some bulking up to do. However, the coaching staff has confidence in his abilities despite his youth.
Look for Kolar to play in special 3-tight end sets, and to spell the other top two TE’s as need be. Kolar’s ceiling is very high, so do not be surprised if he works his way onto the field as the season progress. In reality, you are looking at the eventual successor to Chase Allen as the go-to tight end on the roster.
While Sam does not really fit the tight-end mold, I’d be remiss to not mention him here, as he is not really a running back either.
The F position in the Iowa State offense occupies the space a fullback or a backfield blocking tight end (essentially what he plays) normally fits in. This does not require Seonbuchner to catch passes (1 catch for 5 yards in 2017) or do full back dives; it requires him to sloberknock defenders as he opens holes for RB1.
Sam, the former linebacker from Wisconsin, has really grown into this role, so much so that he earned all-conference honorable mention honors in 2017. We can reasonably expect more of the same from Seonbuchner in 2018: consistent, reliable blocking out of the backfield. With improved offensive line play in 2018, he should have more opportunities to get to the second level, springing more big plays in the run game.
Leader of the Pack:
Chase Allen, easily.
Charlie Kolar seems like the sensible pick here. The way the coaching talks about him despite his size/youth means that where there is smoke, there is likely fire. Whether or not his blocking is on par with the rest of the group remains to be seen.
This is an easy group to project - simply put, their production can only go up. Well, it could go down, but it can’t get worse. Few teams in the country have gotten less out of this group than Iowa State over the past 4-5 years, but I expect that to change in 2018. Look for Allen to be a consistent red-zone threat (5 touchdowns), and for Soehner and Allen to be first down machines, both in blocking and in catching short passes at the sticks.