Notebook: Assessing the in-state recruiting landscape

Like four seasons in the state of Iowa (no Hooray for Ames jokes please), the year-to-year football recruiting landscape is always changing.

For example in 2014, Iowa State only signed one prospect from its own backyard. Of course, Urbandale wide receiver Allen Lazard of Urbandale was that man. 

This week, Iowa State has received verbal commitments from two in-state prospects in Bryce Meeker (offensive lineman out of Cedar Rapids Prairie) and Anthony Nelson (defensive end out of Waukee).

While this year’s crop of homegrown talent appears to lack star power, the 2015 class is actually very ripe with Division 1 talent with (to my knowledge) 10 prospects that currently hold offers from Iowa State or the University of Iowa.

Here is the craziest nugget that you will read all week: Of those 10 prospects, there are zero reports of crossover offers between the two schools. Of the four kids that Iowa State has offered, Iowa has yet to pull the trigger. The same goes the other way with the six prospects that the Hawkeyes (note that Iowa already has five commitments from Iowa prospects) have shown interest in. 

More coming?

Don’t expect Meeker and Nelson to be it for the Cyclones when it comes to in-state prospects in the 2015 class.

According to their profiles at, Iowa State has extended offers to two other in-state prospects, those young men being Murray athlete (At 6-foot-3, 223-pounds, I project him to be a defensive end.) Seth Nurness and Cedar Rapids Washington offensive lineman Julian Good-Jones (6-foot-6, 270).

— Keep an eye on the name Brady Ross out of Humbolt. The 6-foot-1, 210-pound linebacker is a guy who could receive D-1 offers after attending some camps later this summer.

— Also, as I reported on our forum earlier this week, Waukee running back Trevor Allen (who is the best prep running back in the state) plans on camping with Iowa State this weekend. Something tells me that Allen, who ran for 1,326 yards and 20 touchdowns as a junior, could be one of those guys who ends up at UNI and haunts Iowa State and Iowa down the road should the two "big schools" take a pass. 

Looking ahead

Iowa State already has two offers out to Iowa prospects for the class of 2016.

John Rairdon of West Des Moines Valley is quickly becoming a national recruit. His Rivals profile lists offers from: Iowa State, Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Wisconsin.

Also, Urbandale offensive lineman Jake Heinrichwill camp with the Cyclones in a few weeks. Iowa State is currently the only offer that the 6-foot-4, 275-pound prospect holds.

Analyzing the recent commits

A few more notes on the two commitments from earlier this week, Bryce Meeker and Anthony Nelson…

Word is that Nelson, who currently stands stall at 6-foot-7, 215-pounds isn’t done growing. On the day he committed, Nelson told me that he thought he could play college ball at 265 pounds. He apparently posted some great numbers at Iowa State’s camp last week and has a reputation of bringing a high-motor approach to the game.

— One more tidbit on Nelson…You’ve got to love the 14 points and nine rebounds this prospect averaged as a junior in basketball last season. How does that relate to football? Directly, it doesn’t. But it is a sign of sheer athleticism, which is always a good thing. 

During my interview with him earlier this week, Bryce Meeker came across to me as one of those “football guys.” You know? A guy who just likes to hit people. When a 6-foot-4, 300-pound kid from your home state wants to play ball, you have to take him, develop him and turn him into a Big 12 player. That’s what Iowa State will attempt to do with both of these prospects and perhaps other Iowa preps in 2015 as well.

My standpoint on fliers in recruiting (everybody takes a few of them) has always been to lean towards Iowa kids over those from Florida, Texas or wherever. While there is no question that you can’t win in the Big 12 with strictly Iowa kids on your roster, fringe prospects that genuinely want to be in Ames tend to turn out better than ones with no connection to Iowa State, Ames or the Cardinal and Gold. That’s just one man’s opinion. With that being said, I think that this past week has been an extremely successful one for Paul Rhoads’ staff. The 2015 class should be a small one (based off of graduating numbers, etc.) so one has to imagine that the staff is being extremely selective early on when piecing together this group that will sign in February.