And the trend continues. Paul Rhoads just nabbed himself another grappler.
Go ahead and add Orlando, (Fla.) Dr. Phillips linebacker Alton Meeks to the list of Iowa State football players/high school wrestling greats. Meeks, a two-time Florida state champ, committed to Iowa State a few weeks ago and has wrestling in his DNA.
It was fitting that while officially visiting Iowa State in late October, former Iowa state champ Collins Bevins was Meeks’ host. Bevins’ roommate, Kane Seeley, is another former Iowa state champion.
“They (Iowa State’s coaching staff) obviously go after wrestlers,” said Meeks. “Wrestling instills work ethic. It was cool because there aren’t a lot of teams with five to 10 wrestlers on them. They’ve got a lot of guys who wrestled at a high level in high school. It’s like your own little fraternity. Not many guys know what you have to go through with that stuff.”
Meeks spent part of his childhood living in the state of Iowa. He was born in Florida but moved to Iowa City in kindergarten. That’s where he began to love/addiction to the sport of wrestling.
“You have to be a different person and be a little bit crazy,” said Meeks. “I remember being like six or seven years old and having the room cranked up to like 100 degrees and walking outside and lying down in the snow in just shorts and a t-shirt because it was so hot. Once you do it for a while, you get used to it and it isn’t so crazy. It becomes normal after a while but everybody else thinks you are crazy.”
Having crazy guys at linebacker, or anywhere else on the football field isn’t a bad thing…
“You don’t quit. You just keep going,” said Meeks. “It’s kind of like an Iowa mentality really. It’s how people are in the state. Blue-collar. You just go out and do what you’re supposed to do. Do your job. I really liked it and I’m excited to get back to Iowa. It’s a great place to live.”
Meeks moved back to Florida in fifth grade. Meeks originally committed to Cincinnati as a quarterback but felt he’d be better off playing linebacker at the next level. According to his profile at Rivals.com, Meeks had additional BCS offers from: Arizona State, UConn, Duke, Florida State, Illinois, Michigan State, Minnesota, N.C. State, Pittsburgh, South Florida, Temple and Wake Forest.
Meeks will enroll at Iowa State in January, meaning that he’ll be eligible to compete in Iowa State’s spring football session in early 2013.
“It’s a good deal. If I stayed here it just would have been a waste of time,” said Meeks. “I have all of my credits. I just would have been taking pointless classes. I can go up there and get into the college weight room and take college classes. I can actually do stuff that is worthwhile instead of taking a drawing class and a P.E. class or something.”
This is big news for Iowa State when you consider that from a depth perspective, linebacker looks to be an area of concern for the 2013 roster. Iowa State is set to lose three scholarship linebackers, Jake Knott, A.J. Klein and Matt Morton due to graduation. It’s a position that has been hit with transfers in recent years too.
Meeks said that the Knott/Klein legacy isn’t intimidating at all. It’s exciting.
“If you look at Coach (Wally) Burnham’s track record, he obviously knows what he is doing with all of the guys he has coached,” said Meeks. “All of these guys are going out and doing it. If they can do and they are putting out these guys, then you should be able to do it and have the success. I’m excited about that opportunity.”
With all of those impressive offers in hand, Meeks’ decision to attend Iowa State came down to familiarity and comfort. His old childhood wrestling buddy and current Cyclone grappler Kyven Gadson is in town. Meeks knows offensive lineman Duaron Williams, who grew up right down the road from him. There are the wrestlers in the program and to throw a cherry on top, Meeks is very familiar with Iowa State’s tradition of having great linebackers.
“One of my high school coaches coached Tim Dobbins in high school,” said Meeks. “He’s playing really well for the Texans right now.”
Meeks hopes to one day be mentioned with the likes of Knott, Klien, Smith and Dobbins and arriving on campus won’t hurt a thing.