By Chris Williams, CycloneFanatic.com PublisherFollow Chris on Twitter @ChrisMWilliams
Darius Darks set an Iowa State freshman record with 47 receptions in 2008.
Since then, he tallied only 57 receptions over the last two seasons.
In 2011, can Darks and Iowa State’s group of wide receivers prove their critics wrong?
What are his thoughts on Iowa State’s quarterback conversation?
Enjoy these five questions with Iowa State’s senior wide receiver, Darius Darks.
CF: A lot of people think that the wide receivers haven’t pulled their weight over the last two years. Do you hear that criticism?
DD: I’ve been hearing it since I got to Iowa State and it is definitely motivation. We’re going to be a big part of this offense this year. We’re still going to run the ball like we always have but a lot of our points will come through the air, throwing the ball deep down the field.
CF: Coach Rhoads said that he expects the wide receivers to make more plays this season. Why is that?
DD: We have more depth. There is more pride about the group than there used to be. People have called us out on several occasions, whether it be our own team, our coaches or even fans saying that we aren’t playing up to our capabilities. Now we’re taking it personally. It is going to show this season.
CF: Regardless of who it is, you’ll have a first-year starting quarterback throwing to you this fall. What’s your take on Jerome Tiller and Steele Jantz?
DD: They are pretty much neck and neck. I think that JT has a little bit of an upper hand just because he knows the system and he has been around the offense for longer. But as far as the ability to throw the ball and understanding a defense, they are neck and neck.
CF: What is Steele Jantz like as a person?
DD: He’s a really laid back guy, really laid back. He’s kind of different than your usual football player. He’s not rowdy or nothing like that. He doesn’t really get excited about anything but he can play the game.
CF: Are people unfairly leaving Jared Barnett out of the quarterback conversation?
DD: Unfair, I wouldn’t say. But he has definitely made strides to get his named tossed around in the mix. After spring ball, nobody saw him being as close as he is right now. He is right there with them. I apologize for not mentioning his name sooner. He is right there in the mix.
CF: How much did injuries affect your play over the last two years?
DD: As far as my play, I’m not sure if they affected me at all. As far as the confidence that the coaches had in me to go out and perform the best that I could, that’s probably where it hurt me the most. They don’t want to put me out there if I’m not 100 percent. I have been healthy. This is the first year that I’ve gone through without being hurt at all and I’m really excited about that. I can really focus on improving my game instead of getting healthy for the season.