AMES — Iowa State didn’t have a single tight end on scholarship when Matt Campbell arrived in Ames four years ago.
Now, it’s arguably the Cyclones’ best position group.
The tight ends’ rapid ascension is part of the reason Alex Golesh, who was the tight ends coach at Iowa State, is now the offensive coordinator at Central Florida.
Iowa State offensive coordinator Tom Manning has added the tight end room to his responsibilities to help fill the void left by Golesh. Manning was the Indianapolis Colts’ tight ends coach during his one-year stint in the NFL in 2018.
Junior Charlie Kolar was the most productive tight end in the Big 12 last season as a sophomore, and one of the most productive tight ends in the nation. The All American was sixth nationally among FBS tight ends in catches per game with 3.9, sixth in receiving yards per game at 53.6 and tied for fourth in touchdowns with 7.
Senior Chase Allen has been a two-time All-Big 12 selection for the Cyclones. Allen doesn’t always put up big numbers like Kolar, but he’s a complete tight end who excels in blocking and receiving and a player Campbell has said, “never makes a mistake.”
Allen had 17 receptions for 167 yards and two touchdowns last season.
Allen has dealt with injuries throughout his career, but if he can stay healthy, Kolar and Allen could be one of the best tight end combos in the nation.
The third piece to the tight end puzzle is senior Dylan Soehner, who, at 6-foot-7 and 270 pounds, looks more like he came from Greek mythology rather than Prairie Grove, Ark.
Soehner is the blocking specialist of the group and lines up as a fullback almost as often as he lines up as a tight end.
Soehner, who was an honorable mention All-Big 12 tight end, broke his leg against Kansas State and missed Iowa State’s bowl game.
Campbell said in February that Soehner was essentially at 100 percent and would be ready for spring football. Spring football, obviously, never came, but it’s good news for Iowa State’s rushing attack that Soehner was on track to be full go.
Even though his specialty is blocking, he still had seven receptions for 107 yards and one touchdown.
Those three are the known commodities in ISU’s tight end room, but Campbell has high hopes for some of the younger players as well.
Before last season started, Golesh said then-true freshman Skylar Loving-Black made a big impression on the staff. The staff also moved quarterback commit Easton Dean from quarterback to tight end.
Dean was 6-6, 230 pounds last season as a true freshman. The move could prove to be fruitful for Dean and Iowa State.
“Easton moving from quarterback to tight end is going to be a phenomenal benefit to both him and this football team,” Campbell said. “That’s truly home for him. Easton’s going to be the best tight end we’ve ever had here.”
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That’s incredibly high praise considering Kolar was an All-American as a sophomore and has a chance to be an NFL draft pick in 2021 if he chooses to forgo his senior season.
Iowa State is undoubtedly set at the tight end position for this season and it appears the Cyclones’ future at the position is secure, as well.