Iowa State added three verbal commitments to its football recruiting class of 2015 in the last week. All three prospects possess offers from other members of college football’s “Big 5" power conferences.
Entering year six of the Paul Rhoads era while coming off of a 3-9 season, that is incredibly encouraging to see.
Offer lists absolutely do not tell the entire story in the inexact world of college football recruiting but if Alabama and Notre Dame want a kid, there is a better chance that he will turn out being a stud than if it is Akron and Western Kentucky you are competing against.
In this case, if Bill Snyder likes a prospect well enough to offer him, then Iowa State should also want that prospect (cough, cough, Jake Waters). It’s as simple as that.
A pedestrian take, yes. An accurate take? Yeah, I think so.
Here is a recap of the last week that was in Iowa State football recruiting with some additional opinion as well.
The big 3
This latest run of commitments started last Tuesday when Devine Ozigbo, a 5-foot-11, 220-pound running back out of Sachse, Texas chose the Cyclones over 20-some other schools.
The most impressive characteristic that stands out about Ozigbo is his size. Compare his 220-pound frame to Aaron Wimberly at 174 and it is easy to see why this prospect has a chance to play right away as a true freshman. The current Cyclones that he will be competing with at running back next season are DeVondrick Nealy, Rob Standard, Tyler Brown, Martinez Syria and Michael Warren. All are (in my opinion) unproven commodities at this point in time, although it is safe to say that Nealy (at the very least) should gain experience as a junior in 2014.
After that, from the standpoint of experience only, Ozigbo should enter fall camp on a fairly level playing field next August. Ozigbo’s striking size makes him a wildcard at the position, which should work to his advantage.
Julian Good-Jones of Cedar Rapids (Washington) recently chose Iowa State over Kansas State and Oregon State. Good-Jones, a 6-foot-5, 275-pound tackle, is Iowa State’s second offensive line commitment in the 2015 class. He joins another eastern Iowa boy, Bryce Meeker (Cedar Rapids Prairie), who just happens to be the state’s top prospect according to Rivals.com.
And last but not least is what just might end up being the most impressive story to come out of the 2015 class. On Monday morning, Olathe, Kan. linebacker Marcel Spears chose Iowa State over Kansas State, Missouri and Kansas.
That’s a good offer list but not a great one like Ozigbo’s. Even so, this is a Kansas City kid who just chose the Cyclones (after a 3-9 season – this cannot be overstated) over Missouri (and the SEC) and Kansas State, a program that won the Big 12 two short years ago.
What’s it all mean?
There was once a lot of hype around Shontrelle Johnson’s commitment to Iowa State and we all know how that turned out. In that specific case, injuries got the best of a guy who had the talent to be one of the better running backs in program history.
Busts happen too.
Obviously, nothing is official until February.
It is best to take the last week for what it is – a quality recruiting stretch in the month of July. By no means does it signal that this program is turning any sort of a corner or that a 9-win season is on the horizon.
It does mean that Rhoads’ message is still effective on the trail though, which is critical to the future of the program. Add to that another very basic take: In football, you can’t win without good players. Iowa State added what I believe to be three pretty good players to its class over the last seven days.
Kickoff 2014 is in 32 days. The recruiting trail is as active as it has been in some time at Iowa State. Add some on-the-field success to the current equation and a special 2015 class is still very much within reach.