After a string of years with successful play behind the efforts of guys like Walter Nickel, Colin Franklin, and EJ Bibbs, then a subsequent dearth of production for a few years, the tight end room at Iowa State is once again alive and well.
The 2019 Season
Through carefully calculated personnel decisions, the Cyclones stockpiled a trio of do-it-all tight ends with overlapping, but unique skill sets.
Charlie Kolar is the room’s best receiver, and put up the stats to prove it. Kolar finished fifth nationally among tight ends in receiving and was a reliable threat in moving the sticks and getting the ball in the endzone. Chase Allen was used more situationaly in the passing game, but was still a reliable target when used. Dylan Soehner was also seldom used in the passing game, but did a lot of damage as a lead blocker in the running game.
All three tight ends are good to very good at receiving and blocking, but the offense was built around using the relative strengths of all three to create leverage in the defense and create windows for not just themselves, but everyone around them.
With all three of Kolar, Allen, and Soehner returning for 2020, expect the tight ends to continue to play a crucial role in the offense. Skylar Loving-Black redshirted last season, and former QB Easton Dean is now also part of the group, but expect their playing time to be minimal outside of any garbage time. That’s not due to any sort of lack of talent on the part of Loving-Black or Dean, but simply due to the mass (literally) of talent in front of them.
One thing to keep half an eye on will be if usage changes following the departure of former tight ends coach Alex Golesh to UCF. It’s fair to assume that his replacement will be determined on the basis of continuing the upward trajectory of the group rather than instituting any sort of radical change in philosophy, so I wouldn’t expect production and usage to change much, if at all.
Much like a couple other positions on the team, this group was a model of consistency in 2019, and will continue to be a foundational position group to build on going forward.