Defensive line, Tommy Mister now Cyclones’ top recruiting priorities

As is usually the case, there are ample storylines surrounding Iowa State football recruiting from now until National Signing Day on Feb. 5.

The final three weeks leading up to the first Wednesday in February aren’t always the busiest, but in the college football crazed world that we live in, they absolutely garner the most attention as programs look to add finishing touches to their yearlong masterpieces.

As of today, Iowa State’s 2014 recruiting class consists of 21 prospects that have either verbally committed or already signed (mid-year junior-college) with the Cyclones.

Of those 21 young men, Iowa State does not have a single defensive tackle commitment in the class. Because defensive tackle is widely thought of as the most difficult position to recruit in the sport, this news isn’t shocking — but it is still problematic.

Acquiring one or two junior-college big men to play in the middle of the defensive line has to be a top priority. Iowa State will only return five upper-classmen (sophomores and above) defensive tackles next season, so quality depth is already a significant concern.

Another key storyline is the status of Chicago running back Tommy Mister. The 6-foot, 200-pound athlete out of St. Rita High School originally verbally committed to Iowa State in June of 2013. But in December, he de-committed because of Iowa State’s uncertainty at offensive coordinator and running backs coach after Courtney Messingham and Kenith Pope were fired.

Last week, head coach Paul Rhoads officially hired Mark Mangino and Louis Ayeni to fill those positions. Mister is currently scheduled to officially visit Iowa State on Jan. 24. After recently taking a trip to Indiana, will the three-star (according to and athlete re-commit to the Cyclones? That appears to be a real possibility, and Mister is a critical piece left on Iowa State’s big-board. If Mister does not eventually become a Cyclone, will Iowa State look to add a different running back to its class?

How many scholarships does Iowa State have to fill? That is a question that gets asked all of the time, and nobody other than Rhoads and his staff knows the exact answer. But Iowa State still needs help on the defensive line. And a junior-college cornerback would be a welcomed bonus, especially in light of part-time starter Charlie Rogers’ transfer to Iowa Western Community College.

Compared to the old days when Iowa State would add multiple “surprise” commitments on National Signing Day, the majority of the work has been done for 2014. However, the finishing touches have yet to come. And the final weeks leading up to National Signing Day should be, as always, very entertaining.

In a joint venture with the Des Moines Register and, Chris Williams is providing weekly recruiting updates until signing day on Feb. 5.