116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — Kirk Ferentz has seen his fair share of great tight ends this year, whether that be Sam LaPorta on his own sideline, the Cyclones’ Charlie Kolar in the Cy-Hawk game or others on tape.
But no one has quite compared to Colorado State’s Trey McBride.
“You’re probably going to see as good a tight end as there is in the country,” Ferentz said Tuesday.
McBride, the FBS leader in receiving yards among tight ends in 2021, has anchored Colorado State’s aerial attack and given opposing secondaries fits.
His 339 receiving yards are more than twice as many as any other Rams target. Most recently, he was responsible for 109 of quarterback Todd Centeio’s 110 passing yards against Toledo.
In 2020, he led the Rams in receiving yards and receptions and caught every touchdown pass.
“He’s a big, heavy guy, and he can move just like he’s a wide receiver,” Iowa linebacker Jestin Jacobs said. “He can provide support in the run game and get out and pass, and not all tight ends can do that.”
Jacobs said going up against Iowa’s LaPorta and fellow tight end Luke Lachey helps in preparing for McBride.
“Every day, we’re getting a good challenge out of Lachey, LaPorta and Josiah (Miamen),” Jacobs said.
Still, it’s a daunting task.
“Our guys on the scout team don’t look like that guy,” Ferentz said. “I can tell you that.”
Ferentz said Colorado State offensive coordinator Jon Budmayr does a “nice job” of incorporating McBride into the offense, too.
Budmayr’s work is not foreign to Ferentz. Before moving to Colorado State, Budmayr spent six season at Wisconsin, most recently as quarterbacks coach.
“You see some of that (Wisconsin) thinking in there, too — some of the screen passes they run and little things they do that are a little bit unique,” Ferentz said. “You can see that flavor being integrated into the offense.”
While McBride caught 60 percent of passes headed his way against Toledo — compared to 17 percent among the rest of the Rams’ receiving corps — he inflicted much of his damage on the Rockets after the catch.
Early in the third quarter, McBride caught the ball near the line of scrimmage, stiff-armed a 310-pound defensive tackle and one other defender, hurdled over another defender and picked up 29 yards.
Minutes later, Centeio connected with McBride 12 yards downfield. The 6-foot-4 tight end picked up another 9 yards after the catch despite three nearby defenders surrounding him.
“He does everything well,” Ferentz said. “He blocks well. They pull him a lot, bring him across the formation, that type of thing.”
Ferentz pointed to the difference having a player with McBride’s skill set has made in the NFL.
“If you think about the NFL game, if you’ve got one, it’s really an advantage because they’re tough to match up on, especially if they can block a little bit,” Ferentz said.
Colorado State head coach Steve Addazio told reporters before the season McBride was the best tight end in the country. Others are noticing McBride, too.
ESPN NFL Draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. ranked him fourth among tight ends earlier this month. His ESPN colleague Todd McShay has been even more bullish on McBride, ranking him as the top tight end and 27th-best overall prospect last month.
The Senior Bowl named McBride its Offensive Player of the Week after the win over Toledo.
Addazio already is deflecting questions about McBride’s national profile and draft stock. One reporter asked Monday about what the conversations have been like with NFL personnel about McBride. The second-year leader of the Rams didn’t bite.
“Right now we’re worried about the season,” Addazio said at the news conference. “We’ve got to focus on beating Iowa. That’s our focus. That’s all we care about. It’s all that Trey cares about. … It’s all on videotape for everybody to see.”
Meanwhile in Iowa City, Jacobs is excited for McBride’s trip to Kinnick after seeing that tape.
“I’m looking forward to the challenge,” Jacobs said.
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