AMES — One nagging ankle injury stopped ISU wide receiver Dondre Daley from having a breakout spring.
The ankle’s fine now — and Daley finally rose to No. 1 on the depth chart at the “Z” slot Monday.
“He came into fall camp and has shown exactly what he would have shown this spring had he not sprained an ankle and missed so many practices,” Cyclone coach Paul Rhoads said in Monday’s news conference. “Dondre Daley has good body control. Dondre Daley can run. He’s got good length. Catches the ball and goes after it aggressively to catch it. Has been extremely coachable as we’ve gone through fall camp and has really risen from a production standpoint on a weekly basis to arrive to game week.”
Daley totaled four catches in a game twice in 2013 — in losses to Kansas State and TCU.
The 6-2, 190-pound sophomore from Tarpon Springs, Fla., didn’t tally more than one catch in any of ISU’s other nine games, but all signs point to increased output this season.
“He had a great camp,” said quarterback Sam Richardson, who will make his 11th career start in Saturday’s 11 a.m. season opener against North Dakota State at Jack Trice Stadium. “Tough this spring because of the ankle and everything, but obviously he played a lot last year. He’s a great player. He’s a real close friend of mine so I’m excited for him to be out there.”
“Z” is a loaded spot. Behind Daley lurk P.J. Harris, Tad Ecby and Richardson’s Winter Park (Fla.) High School teammate D’Vario Montgomery.
Harris spent last week atop the depth chart at “Z”.
Montgomery dropped from second to fourth in a week’s time — but don’t read too much into any of the depth chart lines at receiver, Rhoads said.
“We have some depth,” Rhoads said. “We have some speed. We have some talent. A good problem to have is figuring out where to put all those guys. We will play a number of four receiver sets and with that, guys will move out of where they’re listed on the depth chart to other places and we’ll start to see that Saturday.”
Other news at receiver, highly-touted freshman Allen Lazard emerged as Quenton Bundrage’s clear backup at the “X” spot.
Lazard’s been taking plenty of second-team reps for most of fall camp, so that’s not a surprise, though it’s the first time his name’s appeared on the depth chart.
“Everything’s graded from catches in individual to production in scrimmages and Allen is a big target who fits well at the “X” position where he plays,” Rhoads said.
LALK JUMPS OMOILE: Jamison Lalk — who worked some as a backup center after Ben Loth suffered a career-ending knee injury on the first day of fall camp — moved past Oni Omoile to the No. 1 spot at left guard.
Part of the reason: Nick Severs’ continued development as a center backing up preseason all-Big 12 senior Tom Farniok.
“We got to a point where we realized we needed to start ranking our best five offensive linemen because of how things have jockeyed around position-wise to make sure we’ve got our best five on the field and Jamison emerged as one of our best five,” Rhoads said. “Nick’s growth has allowed us to practice with (him) at center and it’s been very valuable.”