The biggest compliment that I can give Matt Campbell’s coaching staff is that so far during his tenure at Iowa State, they have gotten fans to really care about recruiting. Part of this is the excitement of a new coaching staff in general. This happens all of the time when a guy has never lost a game. There’s all kinds of hope.
There has always been a niche portion of the fan base that is into recruiting. However, the mass appeal of a bunch of one to three star recruits (sorry but that’s what Iowa State generally gets) is tough to get the casual fan fired up about.
Since Campbell was hired at Iowa State, his staff has been relentless on the trail. The thing is, Paul Rhoads’ staff was too. Every staff is. It’s just that Campbell’s lets us know about 24 hours a day via Twitter.
What a novel concept: To use this communication tool that has the ability to give your program free publicity for fans and perspective recruits. Campbell’s staff tweets so much about recruiting it’s exhausting. I can’t keep up with it. I’m not complaining though.
I thought that today (the junior college winter signing period begins tomorrow) would be a good day to catch everybody up with a review as to where the 2016 recruiting class is at and where it is heading.
I loved what Paul Rhoads had been doing on the junior college trail over the last few years and it appears that Matt Campbell is going to follow suit, at least in 2016.
Iowa State is expecting five junior college prospects to sign tomorrow. Here are some quick thoughts on each of them.
(We go over this every year but remember how important it is for these guys to get on campus in December. The chances of a JUCO working out in the early fall after coming in the summer is exponentially lower than the mid-year guys.)
D’Andre Payne, CB, Arizona Western C.C. – He excites me because of the offers this kid had coming out of high school. Payne, who initially went to Tennessee, was a legitimate blue chipper back in the day. He’s only 5-foot-9 but as I always say in recruiting, I don’t care how many stars are next to your name, I want to know who else wanted you. He’s been off the map for a few years but I’m told Payne has a renewed passion for the sport and should be hungry when he gets to Ames.
Thadd Daniels, CB, Cerritos C.C. – Chose Iowa State over Utah, Utah State and Purdue. He’s 6-foot-2, 200-pounds and PHYSICAL for a JUCO cornerback. I wouldn’t be shocked if Iowa State takes a look at him at one of the safety positions this spring.
Cliff Fernandez, TE, Southwest Mississippi C.C – At 6-foot-5, 265-pounds, Fernandez has nice size but didn’t have a Power 5 offer besides Iowa State.
Karson Green, OL, Northeastern Oklahoma A&M J.C. – Chose Iowa State over a handful of non Power 5 schools. At 6-foot-5, 290-pounds, Green has nice size and should provide depth up front immediately.
Oge Udeogu, OL, City College of San Francisco – Houston and Louisville wanted this 6-foot-4, 310-pound guard, which is encouraging. Iowa State desperately needs depth on the interior line and Udeogu should be able to provide that.
CURRENT CLASS BREAKDOWN (by position)
RB: Kene Nwangwu
TE: Cliff Fernandez
OL: Oge Udeogu, Karson Green, Josh Mueller
DL: Jamahl Johnson
DB: D’Andre Payne, Thadd Daniels, Jatairis Grant, Arnold Azunna
ATH: Lawrence White (projected as a safety), Carson Lensing (projected as a tight end or defensive end)
WHAT’S TO COME?
— The hot name right now is Romelo Webster, a former Cincinnati commit who visited Iowa State last weekend. He’s listed as a 5-foot-10, 175-pound cornerback and is widely believed to be on the verge of an Iowa State commitment.
— I reported a couple of weeks ago that Iowa State was in the market for two quarterbacks in 2016 (high school and JUCO) and that is still very much the case. Appalachian State commit Zeb Noland was on campus last weekend. The class could probably afford to take a wide receiver too.
— My Cyclone Christmas wish list consists of two prep linebackers who visited last weekend, Tymar Sutton and Chase Pine. Boy oh boy would those prospects wearing cardinal and gold make me happy.
— Look for Iowa State to add at least another offensive lineman, a tight end (or two), some defensive linemen and possibly a kicker to this class.
— How many spots are left? Because of the coaching change, transfers (an example being Grant Rohach) and the fluid nature that is recruiting, it’s really a tossup. However, my guess is that when the dust clears, Iowa State will sign anywhere from 17 to 20 prospects in this class – a bit higher than what I originally thought.