Monday Musings: End zone news already paying off in recruiting

After releasing the designs of a new and improved bowled in south end zone a week ago today, Paul Rhoads’ Iowa State football program didn’t have to wait long to feel a boost in enthusiasm on the recruiting trail.

While the Cyclones have yet to snag a commitment because of the announcement, momentum definitely seems to be there according to one of Iowa State’s top recruiters, assistant coach Shane Burnham.

“It came out on Monday when the announced the plans,” Burnham told “I put it on my Twitter page. Today is Thursday (time of the interview). I think I’ve had six different recruits of mine who follow me on Twitter that I have heard from already in three days.”

As most of you well know, this end zone conversation has gone on at Iowa State for decades. It is the one subject that’s been hashed out more times in the last 10 years than the tired topic of bringing back baseball.

The consensus: Bowling in the south end zone of Jack Trice Stadium is long overdue. 

Great, and I agree 100 percent. But what will it actually do for this football program from a win/loss standpoint? 

A fancy end zone will not win a program football games but it does help set Paul Rhoads up for a better chance to do so in the future. 

The renderings look sleek and without question, JTS will have more of a “big time” feel to it in 2015. Also, something that I don’t feel has been tossed around enough, is the new seating capacity of 61,000. 

“Now I can say to them, ‘We have the third biggest stadium in this conference.’ That’s huge,” Burnham said. “There is no doubt in my mind that this will affect recruiting. No doubt. I have already seen a reaction out of recruits.”

There is a big picture aspect to this that is probably the most important part of this story. The end zone addition is simply just another investment (albeit a large one) that Iowa State is making towards building a successful football football and on the trail, recruits notice. There was the scoreboard a few years ago. After that, it was the new football-only facility. Now, there will be the freshness of the stadium expansion. 

“I think that when that snowball continues to roll down the hill and pick up steam, prospects see an athletic department that is committed to a football program,” Burnham said. “The athletic department has made no bones about it. They are going to give us what we need to be competitive with that facility and by enhancing the environment on game day.”

In the past, Iowa State football has attempted to climb a mountain in 100 degree heat with a weighted down backpack strapped to its back. Winning in Ames isn’t easy. The program’s history marred with sub-par seasons is proof of this. 

But with all of these improvements, things should start get a tad-bit easier at Iowa State. Now granted, you’re still recruiting Texas and Florida kids to Ames, Iowa and while Iowa State grows, so is everybody else (thanks to millions and millions of television dollars). The significant challenges still exist, no doubt.

But 10 years ago, Iowa State lacked the bare essentials when it came to football facilities. Year in and year out, the Cyclones were taking a butter-knife to a gun-fight.

Now, like EA Sports, the Cyclones are at the very least going to be, “in the game.” 

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