Coming into the 2019 season one big question regarding the receiving corp was on everyone’s mind? Who would replace Hakeem Butler?
The big-bodied 6’6” downfield threat had spent the previous season being a key to success for the offense. ‘Keem would end his senior season with over 1300 yards and 9 touchdowns. WIth Butler having one of the more successful seasons in recent memory the question loomed, “how would Iowa State replace his down field presence?”
One of the bright spots for the receiving unit was the return of senior Deshaunte Jones. Jones spent four seasons at Iowa State and was a steady hand on the wheel for those four years.
Also added to the mix was redshirt senior transfer La’Michae4l Pettway. Pettway had spent the previous four seasons at Arkansas accumulating 601 yards and 5 touchdowns. In his single season at Iowa State he would post 676 with 6 scores on the year. The addition of Pettway was a great fix for the loss of Butler.
Two breakout underclassmen this season really shone through in Tarique Milton and Sean Shaw Jr. While Milton may have been churning out the yardage this year (he tallied the second most yards, only behind Jones), Shaw Jr. became a big red zone target for Purdy. Shaw hauled in the third most touchdowns on the year. Of Shaw’s 15 receptions, 5 of them were touchdowns. A good sign for the future for sure.
As a unit, the receiving corp managed well in offensive coordinator Tom Manning’s offense. While the most effective form of the offensive generally included targeting Kolar or Allen, the wide outs and slot guys helped to open up the field.
2019 Receiving Totals
Deshaunte Jones - 76 receptions, 877 yards, 2 touchdowns
La’Michael Pettway - 55 receptions, 676 yards, 6 touchdowns
(TE Charlie Kolar - 51 receptions, 697 yards, 7 touchdowns)
Tarique Milton - 35 receptions, 722 yards, 3 touchdowns
(RB Breece Hall - 23 receptions, 252 yards, 1 touchdown)
(TE Chase Allen - 17 receptions, 167 yards, 2 touchdowns)
Sean Shaw Jr. - 15 receptions, 231 yards, 5 touchdowns
(RB Sheldon Croney Jr. - 10 receptions, 60 yards, 0 touchdowns
Landen Akers - 9 receptions, 109 yards, 0 touchdowns
(RB Johnnie Lang - 8 receptions, 54 yards, 1 touchdown)
(TE Dylan Soehner - 7 receptions, 107 yards, 1 touchdown)
Darren Wilson - 5 receptions, 59 yards, 0 touchdowns
Joe Scates - 2 receptions, 25 yards, 1 touchdown
(RB Kene Nwangwu - 1 reception, 8 yards, 0 touchdowns)
(QB Re-al Mitchell - 1 reception, 3 yards, 0 touchdowns
Season Totals - 315 receptions, 4047 yards, 29 touchdowns
As wrote about previously, the incoming group of freshman for Matt Campbell and his staff looks to be bright.
T.J. Tampa was a big get for the team, as Campbell had to fend off a late offer by Kirby Smart and his Georgia staff to hold on to his signing. Daniel Jackson will also be a bright spot as an incoming freshman, and could very well see a Sean Shaw Jr. type role next season. Aiden Bitter will more than likely need to be a developmental guy given how deep the position currently is for Iowa State.
Running it back next season for their second and third seasons respectively, Shaw Jr. and Milton are going to see expanded roles. I would expect Sean Shaw Jr. to see a large uptick in targets down field in the mold of Allen Lazard and Hakeem. Milton seems like he’ll fit very nicely into the role Deshaunte leaves behind as the steady across the middle type.
If all goes well in spring ball and into the next season, this young, but talented group of receivers should be able to provide a more mature and experienced Brock Purdy with the kind of special skills needed to make a run at the Big 12 Championship.