After losing three senior defensive tackles – Brandon Jensen, Rodney Coe and David Irving – in the offseason for numerous reasons, Iowa State obviously needs help on its interior defensive line. An incoming junior college prospect that committed as a defensive end, Terry Ayeni, will be moving to defensive tackle. It’s a move that was fully expected when spring drills ended but Paul Rhoads made it official during Tuesday’s Big 12 teleconference.
“Terry Ayeni is already slotted to be an inside guy for us,” Rhoads said.
As of National Signing Day, the New Mexico Military Institute lineman was listed at 6-foot-2, 265 pounds. He will arrive in Ames this summer and should immediately be slotted in the two-deep for fall camp. Unfortunately,Rhoadsdoesn’t have much of a choice when it comes to his interior defensive line.
“We have a long way to go there and there is no hiding the fact that we have depth issues with players leaving our program and being dismissed from our program,” Rhoads said.
Go ahead and pencil sophomore Devlyn Cousin in as a starter at nose guard. He played well at the end of his freshman campaign and while is far from being a difference maker in the Big 12, is an adequate body at 6-foot-1, 295 pounds.
Who else is expected to see significant time this fall? One redshirt freshman apparently caught Rhoads’ eye at the end of spring drills.
“Robby Garcia I think probably made as much growth as anybody and really finished up the spring strong,” Rhoads said. “Very, very pleased with that.”
How much of an impact that the often-injured sophomore Pierre Aka and redshirt freshman Vernell Trent are ready to make is still a major question.
“Pierre Aka spent a good bit of the spring hurt and Vernell Trent is just feeling his way,” Rhoads said. “We have a long ways to go with that group but they are eager. They are intense. They will be bolstered by the addition of some junior-college players in the summer and in training camp.”