AMES — Iowa State’s Charlie Kolar has put together one of the best single-season campaigns for a Cyclone tight end.
The sophomore has 47 catches for 649 yards and seven touchdowns.
In fact, Kolar has put together one of the best seasons for a tight end this season, and yet he was not among the finalists for the John Mackey Award, which is given to the nation’s best tight end each season.
“I heard that yesterday, and I would say disappointing,” Iowa State football coach Matt Campbell said Tuesday during his weekly news conference. “You can probably put all the stats of the guys that are up for that award and I don’t know if they collectively match Charlie’s production.”
The three finalists are Miami’s Brevin Jordan, Washington’s Hunter Bryant and Florida Atlantic’s Harrison Bryant.
Jordan has two touchdowns, Hunter and Harrison three each. Combined, they are one ahead of Kolar.
Kolar also has 154 more yards than Jordan and 12 more receptions.
“I don’t know how you select those guys,” Campbell said. “It’s too bad. The reality of it is we think the best tight end in the country is right here in Ames, Iowa. And you know what? I think Charlie would take Coach Campbell’s blessing over some voter’s.”
The three finalists were determined by confidential balloting from the John Mackey Award Selection Committee.
Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy is confident Kolar won’t be bothered by the perceived snub.
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“He really did deserve it, statistically,” Purdy said. “And obviously his highlights are pretty awesome. It’s not going to bug him forever, he’s moving on and he’s handling it the right way.”
Steve Wirtel named Mannelly Award finalist
It’s not often a long snapper gets the spotlight, but Iowa State’s Steve Wirtel has garnered some of it in recent weeks.
Campbell credited Wirtel’s ability in Iowa State’s win over Texas two weeks ago. On Monday, he was named a Patrick Mannelly Long Snapper of the Year Award finalist.
Wirtel delivers the ball with what long snappers call “perfect laces.” When he snaps the ball, the holder receives the ball and doesn’t have to spin it to get the laces out before the kicker kicks it. The laces already were out due to the perfect number of rotations of the snap.
Wirtel also is a good blocker and can cover punts using his 6-foot-4 and 235-pound frame.
“Steve, for the last four years, has been a pillar here in two ways,” Campbell said. “No. 1, I really do think he’s the best long snapper in the country. His ability to cover, his ability to block and protect — the unique things that we do with him in both areas has been a huge advantage to our special teams play.
“Then you talk about the leader that he is off the field. Steve is one of these guys that has an unbelievable leadership trait — who he is, what he stands for. One of the things I said to our team is Steve’s shown us what greatness looks like. When you want to be great at something and you want to attack a skill, then you’re willing to strain to constantly get better. That’s what Steve’s done. What that’s allowed him to do is become the best in the country at what he does. He’s been an anchor of our success in this program.”
Iowa State injury report
Iowa State receiver Deshaunte Jones left the Kansas game Saturday with an apparent shoulder injury early in the fourth quarter.
After monitoring the injury for a couple days, Campbell believes Jones should be fine.
“Deshaunte looks good,” Campbell said. “He was able to work (Sunday) night on the field a little bit, which was really good. I think we really feel positive about his availability for this weekend.”
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