116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
AMES — Iowa State has plenty of known commodities at the receiver and tight end positions.
Xavier Hutchinson was a first-team All-Big 12 receiver, Chase Allen was a second-team All-Big 12 tight end and Charlie Kolar was an All-America tight end.
Still, both positions need players to step up.
Hutchinson had 64 catches for 771 yards. The second-best returning receiver is Sean Shaw, who had 21 catches for 212 yards.
Hutchinson is expected to have another big season.
“To be a 1,000-yard receiver, it’s a lot of prep, you have to be healthy and then he needs to continue to create big plays down the field,” receivers coach Nate Scheelhaase said. “He started doing that more as the season went on but he also was able to catch the ball short and get yards after the catch. He’s as good as any receiver I’ve been around in terms of yards after the catch. When he gets the ball, he gets a lot more yards than you’d expect.”
But the Cyclones need another receiver to help take the load off of Hutchinson.
And a healthy Tarique Milton might be the guy to do it.
Milton played in just six games last season and caught 15 passes for 102 yards. Milton has proven to be a deep threat for the Cyclones — he got injured on a 42-yard reception against Oklahoma.
In 2019, he averaged 20.6 yards per catch. If Milton can stay healthy, he’s the perfect slot receiver to complement Hutchinson.
“What Tarique brings to the table is a guy who can threaten people vertically,” Scheelhaase said. “He’s made a lot of plays for us at multiple positions. It’s great to have him back and he brings a whole lot of experience to the receiver room just knowing the game and understanding defenses.”
Coach Matt Campbell said during media day that this fall has been the healthiest Milton has ever been. Milton is up to 200 pounds and Campbell is hoping that the added weight will make Milton more durable.
The third receiver will come down to Shaw and Joe Scates, who are both juniors.
Scates was a four-star recruit who hadn’t quite figured it out but Campbell and Scheelhaase have been happy with how Scates has performed this fall.
“The progress Joe Scates made throughout the season last year, I was really happy with,” Scheelhaase said. “Couple that with the offseason he’s had and we’re really encouraged with where he’s at. He’s done a really good job of coming with a workman’s-like attitude. You can see he’s older and more mature now. I’m excited about where he’s at.”
Scates had six catches for 134 yards and two touchdowns last season. According to Scheelhaase, Scates was the fastest player on Iowa State’s roster in the 100-yard dash. What the coaches are really encouraged by is that the 6-foot-2, 200-pound Scates is using his physicality beyond the passing game.
“He presents problems for defensive backs because of how fast he can run and because of how big he is,” Scheelhaase said. “Yes, we need to see consistency but he’s also one of our best blockers and most physical people on the field. Against Texas Tech last year, Breece (Hall) had a 20-yard touchdown run to Joe’s side and Joe walked his defensive back to the sideline to give Breece that lane.
“That’s what you see from Joe. With the consistency we’ve seen from Joe, that will allow him to do even more of that this season.”
At tight end, Kolar will lead the unit in receptions and yards and Allen will be the do-everything tight end. But with Dylan Seohner’s graduation, the Cyclones need someone to step up.
Tight ends coach Taylor Mouser is hoping walk-on Jared Rus is that guy. Rus is 6-foot-2 and 240 pounds, so he’s more of a fullback type than a true tight end.
Rus actually played running back at North Scott, rushing for 1,390 yards and 14 touchdowns.
“I think he has more of a running back element to his game,” Mouser said. “He can get handoffs out of the backfield — he was a big, physical running back in high school. Rus is a blend of Soehner, (Sam) Seonbuchner and a really big running back. He gives us all of those elements.”