When Dale Pierson was in high school, not one major-college program in America courted him. The 6-foot-3, 265-pound defensive end never even spoke to a Division I football coach.
“I talked to a (Division II) coach over email and that’s it,” said Pierson, Iowa State football’s latest verbal commitment.
At the time, Pierson was a four-sport participant at Independence High School in Bakersfield, Calif. That meant he wasn’t exactly all in with the sport of football at a young age. Pierson was a bit of a late bloomer. But once he arrived on the junior-college (Pasadena City Community College) scene and devoted all of his energy to football, Pierson took off. He recorded 19 tackles for a loss and 12 sacks as a sophomore.
With those numbers, plenty of Division I programs showed interested. Pierson committed to Iowa State in December and chose the Cyclones over the likes of California, Illinois, Indiana, Arizona, Colorado State and Fresno State.
“Schools like Boise and Fresno State came to my high school and they didn’t want to talk to me,” Pierson said. “Now they want to offer me a scholarship. Those guys had their chance. I never forgot about those schools that came to my high school before.”
Pierson isn’t bitter about it. Being snubbed by every coach in the country out of high school made Pierson the prospect that he is today.
“It made me want it that much more,” Pierson said. “Everything worked out for the better.”
Now the real work begins. Pierson won’t arrive in Ames until this summer, which means that unlike Iowa State’s four other junior-college prospects who signed in December, he will not participate in spring practices. Pierson realizes that he is already behind the 8-ball.
“I’m out in California and I need to maintain a healthy diet and eat the right things and train on my own,”Pierson said. “I have to show up in shape so that I can play with those guys.”
One of the main reasons Pierson chose Iowa State was because when he looked at the depth chart, he saw plenty of opportunity to potentially crack the starting lineup as a junior. With senior Willie Scott on his way out, there is a spot open for competition that Pierson could grab. But Pierson isn’t going to coast through the winter months in anticipation of his move to Story County.
“Nothing is guaranteed,” Pierson said. “They can still pull it (scholarship) if they want to. I’m not saying that they will, but nothing is guaranteed. I need to work like I don’t have it.”
Pierson said he is 100 percent committed to Iowa State and plans to sign on National Signing Day next month.
In a joint venture with the Des Moines Register, CycloneFanatic.com provides weekly recruiting updates until signing day on Feb. 5.