Before Iowa State ever entered the picture for Chase Allen, recruiter Alex Golesh was calling to tell the tight end prospect he wasn’t visiting after all.
Then at Illinois, Golesh had been expected to see Allen on Day 1 out of the dead period, but now he wasn’t coming. Allen was bummed. In reality, Golesh was on his way to Ames to join new coach Matt Campbell’s staff at Iowa State.
Once there, he called back the next day.
“Chase was ecstatic,” Chase’s father Terry Allen said. “He really had a good relationship with Alex and Alex has done a great job recruiting him.”
“He said, ‘Hey, listen, we’re really thin at tight end so we’re looking to take a few this year and we want you to be our No. 1 guy,” Chase said. “You’re the first person I’m calling, you’re the first one I’m going to and I’m excited about you.’”
The first recruiting call Golesh placed as an Iowa State assistant and the first stop he made on the recruiting trail when he arrived in early December were both to the Nixa (Mo.) prospect Allen. That relationship paid dividends Friday afternoon when the 6-foot-7 Allen, who is the No. 21 overall tight end in 2016, committed to Iowa State over his other finalists, Michigan and Nebraska.
Now, Allen is returning home.
“I used to live in Ames,” Allen said. “I was there and had always kind of been a Cyclones fan since I left there in third grade.”
Chase’s father, Terry, was an assistant at Iowa State under coach Dan McCarney from 2002-05 between two head-coaching jobs at Northern Iowa and Kansas. He most recently coached at Missouri State from 2006-14.
When the Cyclones offered, the mix included Minnesota, Illinois and Indiana. Within two weeks, Allen’s recruitment had blown up. He received offers from Michigan, Florida State, Nebraska, Missouri and Oklahoma State among others.
During a recent 10-day span, Allen made official visits to Michigan, Nebraska and Iowa State and narrowed his list to the three schools. That included a return trip to Ames on Monday when Iowa State played Kansas at Hilton Coliseum.
“The irony and the timing of how the visit worked out with Iowa State playing Kansas, I mean, c’mon,” Terry said Friday. “That stuff doesn’t happen that way. All those stars definitely lined up.”
In the end, it was Iowa State’s academics — Allen will major in engineering — and the staff’s vision for him and the program that sold the prized prospect.
“They don’t want to change what they did at Toledo, and therefore they need a tight end that can play on the line, flexed and in the backfield,” Allen said. “This way they can maintain tempo without subbing, and having size at the position is a matchup nightmare for safeties and linebackers in coverage.”
In Allen, Iowa State gets a lengthy, athletic tight end who can play in both running and passing situations. Allen is a multi-sport athlete who is expected to develop when his focus shifts solely to football and could eventually add 40-50 pounds to his 225-pound frame when all is said and done, his father said.
For now, his college career is only on the horizon.
“The bottom line is I’m really proud of him because he made the decision based on what his gut told him and it’s pretty hard to call the Florida States saying I’m not coming on a visit and then to go to Michigan and Nebraska — those guys are legendary coaches and legendary institutions,” Terry said. “To hang in there and want to go to Iowa State, I’m extremely proud of him.”
Before Allen headed to the basketball game Monday night with his younger brother and father, as the family walked around, his brother began to speak.
“Dad,” he said, “this feels like being back at home.”
“And that’s where it is,” Terry said.