AMES — Hilton Coliseum has become one of the biggest tools for Matt Campbell and his staff during his first few months as the head coach at Iowa State. Men’s basketball games have become a must-see for every visitor weekend.
That was no different this past Saturday when the football program hosted Junior Day and the basketball team hosted and defeated the Texas Longhorns. The excitement and opportunity to see the fanbase on full display is a match made in heaven for the football program.
It was a match that played a huge factor in Cedar Rapids, Washington linebacker O’Rien Vance’s decision to commit to Iowa State Monday afternoon.
“After Saturday when we went to the game and we went to Junior Day. Just getting to be around them the whole day and getting to see how they really are,” Vance said. “That made the decision.”
The three-star prospect in the class of 2017 according to Scout.com is one of the top players in the state entering his senior season. Division I interest especially started to ramp up after he recorded 92.5 tackles — 75 solo and 25 for loss — this past season in leading the Warriors to the state quarterfinals where they lost to Cedar Rapids, Kennedy.
He also added four sacks, two interceptions and a fumble recovery. He was named elite all-state by the Des Moines Register and the area defensive player of the year by the Cedar Rapids Gazette.
Safe to say, the 6-foot-3-inch, 210-pound outside linebacker had a pretty dominant junior season. That’s why it was no surprise when Iowa State offered or when Iowa, Michigan State and Notre Dame all came calling.
“It’s amazing,” Vance said about Iowa State. “I just like the roster they have and all that.”
Vance is Iowa State’s second overall commitment in the class of 2017 joining Waterloo West quarterback Devon Moore. Although both have a full season left to play at the high school level, it’s clear Campbell and his staff are making headway in-state.
Now with a commitment out of the way, Vance plans to focus on preparing for his senior season. He’s going to camp at Iowa State this summer, but other than that there’s just a few other plans.
“I’m just trying to get stronger and faster,” he said.