Ben Brahmer set freshman TE records at Iowa State in 2023 — and he’s bigger and better now


Nov 18, 2023; Ames, Iowa, USA; Iowa State Cyclones tight end Benjamin Brahmer (18) celebrates a first down during the game against the Texas Longhorns at Jack Trice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron E. Martinez-USA TODAY Sports

AMES — Call him Ben. Or Benjamin. Iowa State standout sophomore tight end Ben Brahmer isn’t hung up on formalities when it comes to addressing him by his given — or shortened — first name.

 But what does Cyclone head coach Matt Campbell call him?

 “Ben?” the 6-7, 250-pound Brahmer said Monday to a handful of reporters. “I don’t really know. I think he calls me Ben.”

 Let’s go with that. Either way, Brahmer’s big numbers have helped define him early in his ISU career. The first-team Freshman All-American by The Athletic broke the program’s true freshman tight records for both receptions (28) and receiving yards (352) last season and the best is likely yet to come.

 “The sky’s the limit for him,” said fellow sophomore tight end Stevo Klotz, who shined mostly, but not exclusively, as a blocker last season. “He was only here for three months before fall camp (last season), but I think looking at what he did last year and now putting in an offseason and another fall camp, the sky’s the limit.”

 Brahmer arrive on campus last June weighing in at a lithe 215 pounds, but assiduously followed a sports nutrition regimen that allowed him to play at around 240 pounds last fall. He did that with extra protein shakes and well-timed meals and hopes to max out at around 255 pounds entering this season.

 “Just so I can keep being able to move and obviously get into the blocking game some this year, too,” said Brahmer, who caught two touchdown passes from quarterback Rocco Becht last season.

 When Brahmer took the field last season, opponents knew the Cyclones would almost certainly be throwing the ball, but his added bulk allows him to fulfill the entire range of duties associated with the tight end position.

 “I think the more we threw at him, the better he got,” said new ISU offensive coordinator Taylor Mouser, who served as the tight ends coach last season. “We really haven’t had a tight end that has played like that as a freshman and we asked that guy to do so much in our offense. … He’s all about the guys. He’s all about the team. He wants to win football games. He won state championships at Pierce High School (in Nebraska). His dad’s an incredible football coach, so the expectations are high for him, for us and for everybody. He’’ll only get better as the competition and our offense grows.”

 That growth includes a plan to deploy the Cyclones’ pass catchers on more vertical routes as the offense seeks to continue to produce more explosive plays.

 “I know (Mouser) wants to do that,” Brahmer said. “And I think the best for me is to get established in the run game. That way I can — they don’t know it’s a pass play every time I’m out there. So just establish yourself in the run game and being able to do it all, that’s kind of my goal this next season.”

 So call Brahmer whatever you want — Ben, or Benjamin — but don’t call him one-dimensional.

 “I feel like I earned a lot of respect from the guys to step into (a leadership) role,” he said. “I want to keep building on that.”