AMES — New Iowa State football coach Matt Campbell vowed Monday to “hit the ground running” in terms of recruiting — both players and a staff.
He’s done that, officially drawing in at least four former Toledo assistants, as well as longtime friend and associate Lou Ayeni as of Tuesday evening. Offers have been flying, as well. And a 2017 commitment came last night when 6-4 quarterback prospect Devon Moore of Waterloo West said he planned to be a Cyclone.
But Campbell finally took a deep breath — and even that led to a loud roar.
The 36-year-old coach predictably basked in loud cheers as 14,272 fans at Hilton Coliseum for ISU’s men’s basketball win over North Dakota State rose for a standing ovation as he made his first public appearance in his new job.
Before the fanfare, he spoke with a handful of reporters on the side.
His energy level, by the way, hasn’t waned since yesterday’s charisma-filled news conference despite all the running around.
“It’s still a little liquid right now,” Campbell said about the recruiting front. “We’re just going to take it slow and make sure we get the right guys. We’ve got some guys on our board and we’ve been hard at work in the last 24 hours.”
Slow? Maybe to him. As for sleep lately …
“Not much,” he said.
Cementing his staff is equally important. It’s why he’s brought in familiar faces from Toledo. In the recruiting battles, you want to know how the guy next to you — or, in this case, sometimes many miles apart — operates.
“I think it’s huge,” Campbell said. “I think it’s huge not only for myself but I think it’s huge for our kids. Really centering our program, really understanding what each other brings to the table, what we all look for both in the recruiting process and then the building process, I think that’s such a huge piece to this puzzle. We’re going to continue to fill it. We’ve got a couple guys still coaching, getting ready for a bowl game back in Toledo and then we’ll get this whole thing figured out and get it settled soon.”
Campbell said a team meeting with current Cyclones went well. He reiterated his plan to meet one-on-one with each one of them in the next couple days.
“The priority for me is making sure that I get a chance to spend some quality time with those guys,” Campbell said. “Our team meeting was great. I loved the look in the kids’ eyes that we have here. I tell you, it’s a hungry group of young men and I look forward to getting to work with those guys soon.”
But break’s over. Back to full speed. Or as he put it Monday, “chaos.”
“You expect that,” he said. “You know that there’s a lot going on and again, you don’t have your whole staff here yet. A lot of work to be done. Again, you’re behind the eight-ball a little bit, but we’ve got great people. We’re just going to put our plan in place. Not going to panic. We’re going to do things the right way and we’re going to get it done.”