The Allen Lazard hype is well deserved

Chris Williams

Publisher

There are few guarantees in college football recruiting. But there’s one thing you can take to the bank with regard to Iowa State’s class of 2014 — you are going to hear, see and read a lot about Urbandale wide receiver Allen Lazard in the coming days, and rightfully so.

For the Register and websites such as CycloneFanatic.com, this is an obvious storyline to exhaustively cover. Lazard, the highly touted son of former Cyclone Kevin Lazard, was at one point the top-ranked wide receiver in America according to some pundits. Locally, the 6-foot-4 wideout is well known and the fact that he has chosen to play college football inside the state is as appealing a storyline that next Wednesday’s National Signing Day can produce.

When Lazard committed to the Cyclones on Dec. 3, 2012, Iowa State received more than just a pledge from a quality wide receiver prospect. Lazard, who has stayed steadfast to Paul Rhoads from day one, set the tone for what is anticipated to be the best class Rhoads has compiled since the time he took the Iowa State job before the 2009 season. This is coming off of his worst season as Iowa State’s head coach, a year in which the Cyclones finished with a 3-9 mark.

Lazard’s commitment opened eyes locally and nationally. At the time, it was difficult for some analysts to comprehend why one of the top prospects in the country would commit to Iowa State, a program that historically doesn’t compare to the Notre Dames of the world, so early in the process.

Lazard never backed away from his word, though, and his commitment gave Iowa State’s recruiting efforts a boost of energy. Following Lazard’s early decision, an unprecedented 11 prospects chose to become Cyclones before the 2013 season had even kicked off.

That momentum has carried into the final month of the process. Last weekend, Iowa State snagged verbals from junior-college defensive end Terry Ayeni, Oklahoma running back Michael Warren and Florida cornerback Mike Johnson, whose offer list is as impressive of any member of the 2014 class. Rivals.com lists Warren as the second-highest rated commitment in Iowa State’s class, behind Lazard.

Chances are, a last-minute addition or two will be added to the class early next week as well.

How good is this Iowa State recruiting class going to be? Despite how many stars happened to be placed next to a young man’s name, nobody knows. The answer to that question will be uncovered in five years.

But when a player the caliber of Lazard commits that early in the process, it sets a positive tone going forward. It most certainly did for Iowa State and because of that, the hype around Urbandale’s star is well deserved.

In a joint venture between the Register and CycloneFanatic.com, Chris Williams has provided weekly recruiting updates leading up to Wednesday’s national signing day.

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