116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
AMES — He swung a bat and hurled a baseball at an elite level.
His diamond-based skills took him to one of the sport’s biggest stages: The Little League World Series at Williamsport, N.Y.
Those were heady times for then-pre-teen Tyler Moore of Johnston, who said baseball is his first love, but now is fully focused on snaring passes instead of fly balls as a tight end for Iowa State.
“I don't feel like anything compares to being on the sidelines — especially in Jack Trice (Stadium), because that place is always rocking, but I feel like being in front of those cameras at such a young age, it was definitely good to experience that,” said Moore, a redshirt freshman. “So then when I got here, I guess, it (was) not that shocking to me.”
Just inspiring. Moore is among several Cyclone tight ends vying to earn snaps this season after two of the program’s best tight ends, Charlie Kolar and Chase Allen, have moved on to chase NFL dreams.
He strode onto campus last summer looking the part from a physical standpoint and still does. But now Moore feels he’s developed the mental tools to contribute both on special teams as well as in the passing and running games.
“Probably the first couple week’s of last year’s fall camp I was missing signals and I was having a lot of MA’s (missed assignments),” said Moore, a former four-star recruit by 247 Sports who chose ISU over Arizona State and Central Florida, among other schools. “So mentally that took a toll on me to where I was like, ‘Maybe I’m not good enough to play here.’ At that point I was just having talks with (head) coach (Matt) Campbell and (tight ends) coach (Taylor) Mouser, and figuring out I am good enough to play here. I’ve just got to be confident in myself, because when I’m confident in myself I feel like I’m pretty good out there.”
He’s not alone in that assessment.
“Iowa State football is so important to him,” Mouser said. “Being a tight end is so important to him. Just how far he’s come mentally — I mean, physically he’s always been huge, but he wears his emotions on his sleeve. He reminds me a lot of Charlie in that sense and he wants to make every play and make every block, and be able to handle adversity and come back (to) make big plays.
“The maturity that guy has over the last two years has blown me away.”
So he’s swinging for the fences, so to speak. But what did he learn from his Little League World Series experience?
“Keep your composure at all times,” the 6-foot-5, 249-pounder said. “Because I feel like there were some times where I failed to do that when I was that young and I just really learned from that, to grow from that, to just always keep your cool.”
Special teams, special times
Redshirt senior linebacker Gerry Vaughn made all six of his career starts last season, mostly when replacing an injured O’Rien Vance.
He’s slated to start alongside Vance this season and developing on the special teams unit — like many ISU linebackers before him — helped pave his path toward significant snaps.
“We all just play fast and physical,” said Vaughn, who notched 5.5 tackles for loss last season. “Gotta be able to play special teams if you wanna play linebacker.”