It is still early. It is still very, very early. (Happy Fourth of July by the way.)
But despite the fact that we just turned our calendars to July, it isn’t senseless to tab Urbandale wide receiver Allen Lazard as the most important recruit in Iowa State football history.
No, Lazard still hasn’t signed on the dotted line (how much do you wish that college football had an early signing period now?) and he is still taking visits elsewhere (he’s already been to Notre Dame). But based off of similar quotes that he has repeatedly given the media time and time again (quotes that he isn’t reckless with I might add), I do not believe that this will blow up in Iowa State’s face because of some sort of last minute change of heart to ditch the Cyclones.
As you all are well aware of, Lazard is a legacy recruit. Growing up in Iowa State’s backyard, Lazard watched games at Jack Trice Stadium as a kid. Like many of you, he’s played football games with his buddies on the hillside on during a Saturday afternoon. His dad was a Cyclone. His brother is a Cyclone.
Lazard is football’s Harrison Barnes, execpt he wants to stay in Ames.
Unless something wild happens between now and February, it is hard for me to believe that Allen Lazard will not ultimately and officially become a Cyclone.
But Lazard’s physical tools (he’s thought of as the top-ranked wide receiver in the nation by many publications) aren’t the reason that he very well might go down in history as the most important recruit that Iowa State has ever signed. What he can do as an actual football player is only the start…
It is the fact that a guy like Tommy Mister has recently decided to play ball in Ames as well that makes the Lazard commitment so critical. Now sure, Mister likes Iowa State. He is high on the coaches and believes that the program is heading in the right direction. But do I believe for a minute that he would have picked Iowa State over half of the Big Ten had Lazard not already made his pledge to the Cyclones?
My assumption is that there will be three or four Tommy Mister’s in this 2014 Iowa State recruiting class – guys who like Iowa State, like the coaches and like the campus, but LOVE the idea of playing with Lazard and cutting against the grain just a bit.
Over the last four years, Iowa State has legitimized its football program in a variety of ways. Three bowl games in four years is a good start. Road wins over Nebraska, Texas, the blowout at Texas Tech and last year at TCU were impressive. And who can forget the game that changed the scope of the college football world, the stunner over Oklahoma State on that fateful November Friday?
Iowa State’s administration has legitimized the program by ramping up its collection of facilities. The massive scoreboard is magnificent and appealing to the eye. Season ticket sales keep on soaring. Iowa State’s new football facility and weight room is top of the line. Jamie Pollard keeps writing Paul Rhoads checks when he needs to.
By all means, the 2013 recruiting class was better than the three before it. Adding guys like Jake Campos, Rodney Coe, Aaron Wimberly and E.J. Bibbs (to name a few) got the attention of many around the country. Iowa State went toe-to-toe with schools like Oklahoma, Missouri, Penn State, Iowa and TCU on the recruiting trail and won.
But Lazard’s commitment and impending signing really does legitimize Iowa State on the national recruiting trail, specifically to the people who matter – other players.
Signing one blue-chip recruit can change a basketball program. That isn’t the case in football though. A division one football program consists of 85 scholarship athletes. Every position relies upon another to be successful. But if Iowa State can continue to capitalize on Lazard’s commitment and build around it then one "big" recruit could turn into five or six.
If that happens, then watch out. Paul Rhoads’ 2014 recruiting class very well could be a program changer.
No summer league for Royce?
A few years ago, my best pal Brent Blum caught a lot of flack for some comments he made on one of our Cyclone Fanatic radio shows. Blum made a Royce White/Manny Ramirez comparison. The thing is, Blum wasn’t even being negative. His point was that with both athletes, there are a few things that you have to put up with on the side to see great rewards in return. Both men are elite talents.
Again, Blum caught hell for this but looking back, our ace columnist spot on was he not?
I’ve been anxious to see if Royce plays in the NBA’s Summer League with the Houston Rockets and according to this blog, it isn’t looking good for the former Cyclone.
*** Some heartbreaking news that I’m sure will keep every Iowa State fan up at night…
Baylor’s women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey will miss one game in her next NCAA Tournament appearance because she blasted officials after her team lost to Louisville last season.
*** Here’s a big happy birthday wish to my friend Chad Lyons from the Infinity Financial Group – a proud supporter of Cyclone Fanatic. Chad is a passionate fanatic and we appreciate his support. Looking to refinance? Give him a call at 515-419-6377.
*** In case you haven’t seen it by now, we’re putting together a Cyclone Fanatic bus trip to the Kansas State game this year on Nov. 7. We are only taking two loads and trust me – they are filling up fast. CLICK HERE for more details.
***Chick-fil-A is coming to Ankeny. Oh yeah…
*** And finally, the 2013 Iowa State football season is exactly 60 days from today. We’re within 20 days of Big 12 media days down in Dallas. Sit tight fanatics. This is the calm before the storm.