BHGP continues its countdown to the presumptive start of the college football season with a veteran tight end hoping to use his experience and receiver skills to have a breakout season during his senior year. This player shares a jersey with another former Hawkeye who proved unusually adept at catching the ball for his position: former outside linebacker Grant Steen who earned second-team All-Big Ten honors in 2002. Steen’s three interceptions against Indiana that season set a program record for most picks in a single game and tied the NCAA record for most interceptions by a linebacker in one contest.
Shaun Beyer - Senior
Shellsburg, IA (Cedar Rapids Kennedy)
6’5”, 246 lbs
2020 Projection: Backup tight end
Beyer came to Iowa as a breakout star from Cedar Rapids Kennedy who earned All-Metro Player of the Year in 2015 for his contributions on both sides of the ball. Beyer was an intriguing prospect whose long frame and athleticism allowed him to project anywhere from wide receiver to defensive end. While Beyer began his Iowa career as a wideout, he shifted to the tight end position after completing his redshirt season in 2016.
Beyer saw limited action in 2017-18, and many Iowa fans knew him primarily for having the misfortune of a Wisconsin punt grazing him during the 2018 matchup, resulting in a pivotal Badger recovery. However, Beyer was able to stay healthy and emerge from the shadow of the departed Noah Fant and T.J. Hockenson as a junior in 2019 and give the Hawkeye faithful a glimpse of what he was capable of. Beyer started eight games and recorded 7 catches for 117 yards, including a 40-yard reception against Illinois.
As a former wide receiver, Beyer’s strength lies in his ability to make plays in the passing game, whether he begins the play in-line or out wide. Beyer has soft hands, good ball skills, and the solid receiver instincts, and does a good job adjusting to the ball in the video below and making a nice catch in traffic.
Still, Beyer’s role in the 2020 offense is somewhat up in the air. Rising sophomore Sam LaPorta largely supplanted Beyer as the primary receiving tight end as the 2019 season progressed, and while Nate Wieting’s graduation should open up another tight end spot, Wieting’s minutes will likely go to a player capable of replicating Wieting’s contributions as a blocker, a skill Beyer is less known for. Beyer must also contend with several talented young tight ends like Josiah Miamen, Elijah Yelverton, and Luke Lachey, all of whom have the athletic pedigree to push for serious playing time this year. Still, Iowa has proven capable of creatively deploying multiple tight ends throughout a particular game and over the course of the season, so Beyer will likely continue to have opportunities to see the field. How much action he gets will largely be up to him.