While the Cyclone passing game wasn't without its issues in 2009, one of the more dependable parts was the play of the tight ends - when thrown to. If there's one thing I've ever been jealous of in terms of Iowa football's offensive philosophy, it's the ability to work in the tight end.
Thankfully, Iowa State has a very capable target at tight end in Collin Franklin. The 6-foot-5 redshirt senior should look to break out in a big way this fall.
Projected Tight End Depth Chart
Scholarship Tight Ends
1. Collin Franklin (RSSr.)
2. Ricky Howard (Jr.)
3. Kurt Hammerschmidt (RSSo.)
4. Pierce Richardson (Fr.)
Walk-on Tight Ends
Andrew Mitchell (RSSr.)
Reid Branderhorst (Jr.)
Vince Ewald (RSSo.)
I wouldn't expect the coaching staff to go more than three deep at tight end this year. Franklin has long been one of the best receiving tight ends on the team, even with Derrick Catlett on the roster. Howard, a JUCO recruit, will likely see the bulk of the time at #2 TE - though he'll likely be more of a blocker than a receiver. Hammerschmidt is somewhere in the middle of Franklin and Howard in terms of both skills, but has the best size of the group. Richardson is probably the best fit for what the coaching staff wants in terms of a tight end that can be multidimensional in the offense, but won't likely play as a true freshman unless he really excels in fall camp.
The tight end position has talent. Not a wealth of it, but Franklin does have the tools to be a top-tier tight end in the Big 12 - if we throw him the ball.