Full disclosure: I write the Iowa State section for the Athlon preseason football magazine. In order to get these magazines (the Big 12 and national editions) printed in time, as writers, our copy is due super early. This year, my deadline was last Friday. Part of the assignment is to project a two-deep for the opening game of the season. Below is what I submitted and I’ve also added some quick analysis on each position for you all today at CycloneFanatic.com.
TE: Ben Boesen, Sr.— Justin Chandler, Jr.
ANALYSIS: Probably the weakest position on Iowa State’s roster but I expect Mark Mangino to mask it. Boesen will have his hand on the ground a lot. Iowa State will use the “tight end” position differently this season.
LT: Jake Campos, So.—Shawn Curtis, So.
LG: Wendell Taiese, Sr.— Oni Omoile, Sr.
C: Jamison Lalk, Sr. — Patrick Scoggins, Jr.
RG: Daniel Burton, Jr. — Ryan Glenn, So.
RT: Brock Dagel, Sr.— Jacob Dunning, Jr.
ANALYSIS: Taiese was one of the most impressive Cyclones in Saturday’s spring game and Oni Omoile is a quality backup guard in the Big 12. I like Lalk to beat out Scoggins at center. Campos, Burton and Dagel are all locks as long as they are healthy.
QB: Sam Richardson, Sr.— Grant Rohach, Jr.
ANALYSIS: I’ve talked to a lot of people inside of the program and not one person believes there is even a hint of a quarterback controversy. It’s Sam Richardson’s job. It’s Sam Richardson’s team.
TB:Tyler Brown, So. — Mike Warren, Fr.
ANALYSIS: Along with Martinez Syria, both will play. I like Brown to win the starting job on Sept. 5 though.
WR: D’Vario Montgomery, Jr. — Brett Medders, Sr.
WR: Quenton Bundrage, Sr. — Jauan Wesley, So.
WR: Allen Lazard, So. — Dondre Daley, Jr.
ANALYSIS: A no-brainer here. I’m not sure that the preseason ratings will back me up here, but Iowa State has one of the top wide receiver units in the Big 12. Hopefully that kind of production will follow.
LE: Dale Pierson, Sr. — Gabe Luna, Jr.
DT: Devlyn Cousin, Jr. — Robby Garcia, So.
NG: Demond Tucker, Jr. — Bobby Leath, Jr.
RE: Trent Taylor, Sr. — Darius White, Jr.
ANALYSIS: I really like Iowa State’s two starting defensive ends and think they could be primed for much more productive years than what we saw a year ago. Demond Tucker is a dude. He looked the part during Saturday’s spring game. Cousin is what he is – a gap filler with a body to play at this level. However, I still question Iowa State’s depth across the board here. I struggled with Tucker’s backup. Bobby Leath is a best-case scenario so I went glass half-full. As is usually the case, there won’t be a lot of margin for error up front for the Cyclones.
SLB/N: Reggan Northrup, Fr. — Jarnor Jones, Jr.
MLB: Jordan Harris, Jr. — Kane Seeley, Jr.
WLB: Brian Mills, So. — Levi Peters, Jr.
ANALYSIS: Lots of unknowns here. Harris will be the key. He has to produce. A lot of people seem to be excited about the Northrup/Jones combo at nickel. I’m taking the wait and see approach there and with Brian Mills until I see these guys produce on a Saturday.
RCB: Nigel Tribune, Jr. — Brian Peavy, Fr.
LCB: Sam E. Richardson, Sr. — Jomal Wiltz, Jr.
SS: Qujuan Floyd, Sr. — Darian Cotton, Sr.
FS: Kamari Cotton-Moya, So. — Kamari Syrie, So.
ANALYSIS: This group will be as good as the front-seven allows it to be. Brian Peavy is an impressive looking freshman.
K: Cole Netten, Jr.
P: Colin Downing, So.
KR: Jomal Wiltz, Jr.
PR: Jomal Wiltz, Jr.
ANALYSIS: I’m pretty sure Wiltz will be on kick return. I’m less positive about punt return. That’s a different ballgame for obvious reasons. For now though, I’ll pencil the JUCO in as Iowa State’s special teams ace for 2015. After all, that’s one of the big reasons they recruited him.