ORLANDO — He’s Iowa State’s star tight end, who doesn’t get the recognition he deserves.
Chase Allen has been a Cyclone since 2016, and an All-Big 12 selection for the past three seasons, yet he’s still underrated. Teammate Charlie Kolar has received all of the national attention over the years, while Allen endured his success in the shadows.
After all, the two tight ends bring a different skill set to Iowa State’s offense. Kolar is the flashy catcher and Allen is the bruising blocker. Although Allen’s blue collar work doesn’t show up on stat sheets, his play on the field stands out on film, and Iowa State fans appreciate his value to the offense.
Kolar might haul in the touchdowns, but it’s the blocks from players like Allen that creates space for Iowa State’s pass catchers to get open. Allen has the experience, leadership and production to be a starter at several other Power Five programs. He could’ve easily took his talents to the NFL after 2020. However, Allen has remained loyal to the Cyclones after all this time, despite the trendy transfer portal.
That’s because Allen views the program as a family instead of a bunch of players and coaches working their way through scholarships and contracts. So it’s a no-brainer why Allen is a Cyclone for life. Iowa State (7-5) was coming off a 3-9 campaign when the former three-star prospect arrived on campus. Allen was also part of Matt Campbell’s first recruiting class.
Iowa State’s surge in national credibility was nothing but a pipe dream for Allen as a freshman. Now the Cyclones have secured five-straight winning seasons, including 39 victories during that span.
“We got there that first season, and things weren’t really good, didn’t have a lot of things that we needed to have in place that we do now,” Allen said. “Being able to see that transition, but getting to play against the competition that we have played against the last three years, that’s what we talked about when we first got here.”
The impressive part about the program’s amazing run over the past five seasons is the fact that the coaching staff has remained intact. Not to mention the players have stayed throughout their eligibility. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Cyclones’ chemistry and longevity has led to success on the gridiron and in recruiting.
What’s important to Allen is that Iowa State persevered through adversity, including not living up to the lofty expectations in 2019 and 2021. The Missouri native still feels his team has accomplished a lot together, and he wouldn’t change his time as a Cyclone for nothing.
“We had different expectations at the start of the season, but I can tell you the guys in the locker room still pour our heart and soul into every game every time we step onto the field and make sure we can execute the game plan,” he said. “My focus is on that, and whatever comes after that comes after that.”
The six-foot-seven, 250-pound Allen is keeping that same mentality as Iowa State’s bowl game against Clemson approaches. His 23 catches for 275 yards this season is just tip of the iceberg for what Allen can accomplish in the matchup. He caught a season-high, seven balls for 98 yards against Baylor. Allen will be bringing a lot of momentum into the bowl game, considering he’s coming off a touchdown catch in each of the Cyclones’ last two games.
Clemson (9-3) will be without its’ Defensive Coordinator Brent Venables, but that doesn’t mean Allen hasn’t been doing his homework on the unit. Allen is preparing to match wits with linebacker James Skalski, who’s the heart and soul of the Tigers’ defense. Clemson arguably has the best defense Iowa State will see this season, so Allen is expecting a physical slugfest.
“I think in their ability to be versatile and be very disciplined and play hard, they remind me of all the good defenses we have played,” the 24-year old said. “I have got a lot of respect for the Mike linebacker (Skalski), the guys on the defensive line, as well as, the safeties.”
The Cyclones lost their last trip to Camping World Stadium, but what Allen’s team has that the Tigers don’t is chemistry. All-American running back Breece Hall is the only notable Cyclone opting out of the bowl game, and the rest of the squad is dialed in for Wednesday’s clash.
The Tigers had players enter the transfer portal and opt out for the NFL. Even a few of Clemson’s assistant coaches have left the program for other gigs. Still, a victory is going to come down to which team wants to be there in Allen’s eyes. The Cyclones have proven time after time they’re loyal to each other and want to carry out the same goal. And Allen is hoping the roster that has a brotherhood will have the advantage over the one that’s full of uncertainty.