Iowa State football preview 2014: Looking at the tight ends


E.J. Bibbs.

Honestly, I could just write that name, close the laptop, get out of my desk, open up a brewsky and marathon a season of Wilfred to start my weekend. You know that the tight end position begins and ends with E.J. Bibbs.

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Unless there’s a source I couldn’t find, Bibbs is unanimously considered the best tight end in the Big 12. As far as players goes, he’s the only spotlight from the national perspective (nothing created bigger headlines than the Mark Mangino hire). Aaron Wimberly and Tom Farniok are getting press, but there’s not the same level of hype that Bibbs has.

In fact, the unanimity of Bibbs’ greatness may pose one question — what did he all do to gain it?

Player to watch: It’s Bibbs! Statwise, the junior tight end had 39 catches for 462 yards and two touchdowns. The TE was the second-best receiver on the team.

Jul 22, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Iowa State Cyclones tight end E.J. Bibbs poses for a photo during the Big 12 Media Day at the Omni Dallas. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Bibbs is widely regarded as the best in the Big 12 at this position because his bulk (6-foot-3, 250 lbs) transitions into being a great inline blocker and he’s got the hands of a wide receiver. At times, it’s expected to see Bibbs even line up at the WR position.

Already the best candidate on Iowa State for next year’s NFL Draft, if he’s able to improve his strength, he’s easily one of the top 5 TE prospects.

Newcomer to watch: Alex Leslie is behind Ben Boesen on the TE depth chart. The redshirt freshman from New Braunfels, Texas, turned down teams like Wake Forest and Memphis to join the Cyclones.

Leslie is close in bulk to Bibbs (244 lbs.) and is a couple inches taller. In his last season of action, Leslie had 56 catches for 720 yards and 10 touchdowns. We’ll see how that translates into the college game.

Outlook: Bibbs simply adds to the depth of receivers on the offense. With so many weapons to throw to, Bibbs may not register a ton of catches or yards, but he’s a threat that teams will have to watch out for.

He’s the most important player on the offense. If he ends up going down, there will be significant downgrade in the position and the team will lose more than just their best TE. Let’s hope for a fully healthy year from Bibbs.