Charlie Kolar knew Iowa State was interested when assistant Alex Golesh stopped in Norman (Okla.) to watch him two weeks ago, but he was met with a surprise the next day when he received the first big news of his recruitment.
Golesh had seen enough over a long period of time and his in-person viewing in Norman on May 11 cemented things as Iowa State presented the 6-foot-6, 227-pound tight end prospect with his first offer.
“It’s definitely very big. I’m very grateful to them for trusting me and giving me a chance to play there,” Kolar said. “It was very relieving for me. Recruiting is fun, but you’re also a little nervous because you don’t know where you’re going to go and stuff but it was very relieving and very exciting [to get] my first offer. It’s Power 5, it’s Big 12, it puts you up there and I’m just extremely grateful.”
Golesh had seen Kolar on film from last fall and continued to be impressed with him all these months later. He visited to watch Kolar a second time last week in an evident sign that the newest tight end target is one of Iowa State’s favorites.
“He was very impressed with my progress from seeing me on film last year during my junior year to seeing me on the field live now,” Kolar said. “He liked the progress a lot, liked my work ethic. He likes me at tight end — obviously I can gain more weight in college — they think I’m athletic enough and big enough.”
Kolar, who continues to grow at 6-foot-6, had 52 receptions for 920 yards and 13 touchdowns in 11 games last season as a junior for Class 6-A Norman North. Given his flexibility, Kolar is used in the slot as a flex tight end in the offense, which matches up perfectly with Iowa State coach Matt Campbell’s vision.
Since Iowa State offered, Army, Air Force and Stephen F. Austin have also joined the mix while Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Memphis, Arkansas, Cincinnati, Tulsa and others continue to show strong interest in him as a tight end.
“I think most of them see me as a tight end. Some people see more as a flex versus a down tight end,” Kolar said of where he fits. “In our offense [the slot receiver] is just similar to a flex tight end. I can play tight end, my coaches love me there, but our flex out is a more versatile piece in our offense.”
At Toledo, Campbell used double tight ends roughly 40 percent of the time in 2015, and although that number is on the high side, the new staff has said it would like to heavily utilize the tight end in multiple roles moving forward.
The Cyclones appear unlikely to take more than one tight end in the 2017 class and Kolar has quickly become one of the main priorities at the position. The offer, being a Big 12 school, also provides Kolar an opportunity to play close to home.
“Even more advantageous than [playing close to home] is my grandparents and my mom’s two brothers both live in Iowa, so I can visit them a lot. So that’s really good, all my family is up there, my mom’s side of the family,” Kolar said. “It also would be cool because I’d play, I believe once a year there in Oklahoma. Probably at least once a year with Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. It would be awesome to come back and play. I love Iowa State.”
Kolar, whose brother John Kolar will be a redshirt freshman quarterback for Oklahoma State this coming fall, doesn’t currently have a timeline for a decision. He plans to make several trips this summer, including a certain trip to Iowa State.
As for his key factors, a few stand out.
“Obviously football, their scheme, how good they are, their record,” Kolar said. “But almost more important than that is people — the feel. The feel of the program, how they’re doing, the coaching staff. That’s arguably the most important [is] the coaching staff, how you connect with them. If you hate your coach, no matter if you go 12-0, you’re still going to be miserable. I really like Coach Golesh, he’s a great guy. I’m still undecided about [location]. Norman is about 150,000, so it’s a suburb. I’m not even sure what type of city I like yet, I just know that it will be an important decision.”