Fall camp is a thing of the past.
Which Cyclones improved their stock over the last two weeks? That’s what I’m going to take a look at today in the blog. I won’t cover everybody. I’m going strictly off of what the coaching staff has said during post-practice interviews and maybe a rumbling or two that I’ve heard throughout camp. But remember that like you, I can’t watch practice.
But here we go…
Shontrelle Johnson, Junior, Running Back – Last November, we didn’t know if “the Rabbit” would ever play football again. Now, he’s well on his way to being a focal part of Iowa State’s offensive attack for the 2012 season. A courageous comeback equals an outstanding camp.
DeVondrick Nealy, Redshirt Fr. Running Back – This Paul Rhoads quote from last Saturday says a lot.
“DeVondrick Nealy has shown to be the player that we thought he was in the fall,” said Rhoads. “Nealy didn’t make a lot of people miss in the spring. He’s back to doing that and has been very productive with his carries.”
Based off of comments like that and the word of mouth, it’s clear that this highly touted redshirt freshman brought his game to camp this August. Even so, it’s hard to imagine that he’ll be featured in Iowa State’s offense in 2012 right? I mean, Nealy still has to surpass Shontrelle Johnson, Jeff Woody and James White on the depth chart. Having said that, the thought of Iowa State’s coaching staff attempting to find creative ways to get Nealy touches isn’t crazy.
Deon Broomfield, Junior, Defensive Back – Here’s a guy who I keep hearing fantastic things about. In fact, his role could expand in passing situations this season. Broomfield entered fall camp penciled in as a co-starter at SLB with C.J. Morgan.
Jeremiah George, Junior, Linebacker – He’s a brand new man.
Reading between the lines, nobody on Iowa State’s roster has improved more than this 5-foot-11, 225-pound middle linebacker from the start of spring football until now. That last sentence is actually a massive understatement. You don’t have to read between any lines. Iowa State’s coaching staff has been gushing over Jeremiah George for months. George’s emergence as a playmaker gives Iowa State more flexibility defensively and as Wally Burnham put it last week, the Cyclones will have this junior on the field as much as possible in 2012.
Ben Durbin, Senior, Defensive Tackle – A few weeks ago, his position coach Shane Burnham openly admitted that Dubin, a 6-foo-3, 272-pound transfer from Wyoming, was better than he thought when he finally took the field in Ames. Durbin likely won’t dominate many Big 12 offensive linemen but that’s not what the Gilbert native was brought in to do. Depth is key on the defensive line for Iowa State and as it turns out, Durbin will likely contribute more than pretty much anybody thought two months ago.
Cory Morrissey, Sophomore, Defensive End – Another Gilbert native…
Morrissey arrived at Iowa State last winter and participated in spring ball. He’s put on nearly 20 pounds and passed the Williams “eye test” when I first saw him in early August (dude looks jacked). Rhoads praised Morrissey a few times during camp. At one point, talk was that Morrissey might redshirt 2012 to develop physically. That no longer appears to be the case.
Kenneth Lynn and Sam Richardson, Redshirt Freshmen, Cornerbacks –Two guys with similar stories. Both are redshirt freshmen cornerbacks who might not see the field a ton in 2012 but look to have very bright futures in Ames. Cornerback is quietly one of the deepest positions on Iowa State’s roster.
Edwin Arceo, Junior, Kicker –The fact that there is a kicking competition in Ames right now says it all. Arceo, a walk-on (Muscatine native), has made things interesting with practice beginning on Tuesday. According to Rhoads, freshman Cole Netten hasn’t been bad. In fact, the head coach says that both kickers have been good so far. Any walk-on who is pushing a scholarship guy deserves to be on this list.