Cyclones Seeking Help at TE Position

Iowa State's depth chart at tight end will take a big hit after this season, and coaches are already looking ahead to filling the holes. Perhaps the highest-rated JUCO recruit on their board is a standout tight end from Fullerton (Calif.) College.

Fullerton's Jason Vandiver, a 6-foot-4, 265-pounder with 4.8 speed, is in the process of finalizing a date for his official visit to Ames. The mammoth tight end will be transferring to a Division I program at the end of the fall semester. He's already visited Wyoming (Oct. 9) and Oregon State (Oct. 30), and his ISU trip could be the last before he makes a commitment. Wisconsin is also in the mix, but some academic matters may prevent him from transferring at mid-term.

"It's between Wyoming, Oregon State, Iowa State, and Wisconsin," said Vandiver, who enrolled at Fullerton out of Whittier California High School. "I took a trip up to Oregon State, and I liked it a lot. I also went to Wyoming on October 9th. I'm probably going to be going on a trip to Iowa State at the end of this month. My signing date is on the 17th of December, and I told everyone I would decide by the first."

Vandiver is considered an impact tight end with skills as a pass catcher and blocker.

"He's doing exactly what he did last year, and that's why people are recruiting him," said Fullerton head coach Gene Murphy. "He's a big body that can run well. He can block and run down the field. It's not just in flats or curls, he runs seams and verticals. He's a little snotty, too, and is a real aggressive kid. He's played well both years for us."

Through nine regular season games, Vandiver leads all Fullerton receivers with 16 catches for 190 yards and two touchdowns. In his first season at the school, he earned a spot on the Region IV All-California Team. This season, Vandiver has helped his team to a 6-3 record. Fullerton is one win away from earning a trip to the state playoffs for Southern California.

Murphy says his star tight end made a number of strides in the offseason to put himself in position to transfer early.

"He just got bigger, stronger, and became a better blocker," Fullerton's head coach said. "He's better at everything. The most important thing for him to do is to get into a program where he can get into spring football. He'll be able to do that, because he'll have his A.A. degree after this semester."

Vandiver approached his sophomore season with three goals in mind.

"I needed to do three things – keep my grades up, continue long snapping like I have been doing, and be able to go in December," he said. "It's awesome because I can start the spring semester there, and get used to the environment of the school and program. That way I'll be ready to go for next season."

A pair of Cyclone assistant coaches – John Skladany and Terry Allen – have been recruiting Vandiver since last spring. Murphy said Allen would be in for a visit this week, since ISU is on a bye week.

"I'm pretty interested in Iowa State," Vandiver said. "I can't wait to get out there and check out more of the program. I've been following them on the Internet. I'm pretty sure they're going to win the Big 12 North, and that's a prestigious conference. I'm excited I'm being recruited by Pac 10, Big 12, and Big 10."

Vandiver said one of the biggest factors in his recruitment has been how he gels with the coaching staffs at the respective schools.

"I'm more looking at the coaches," he said. "I want to feel comfortable where I am. I'm an older guy, so I don't have to be schmoozed into knowing what's going on. I expect coaches to be honest with me and tell me what they expect. I'm looking for an offense that gets the ball to the tight end a lot."

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