Kempt hoping to finally find home in Ames

Kyle Kempt has been all over the place, but he has hopefully finally found his home. Iowa State’s 6-foot-5-inch, 220-pound, redshirt junior quarterback has lived in Washington, Hawaii, Oregon, Ohio, Oregon, again, and Kansas.

In January, he added Iowa to that list when he made the decision to transfer to Iowa State as a walk-on.

The former three-star recruit initially committed to Cincinnati during a stand-out prep career at Massillon Washington, but then Butch Jones left to take the job at Tennessee. He signed a national letter of intent with Oregon State and went back west to play for Mike Riley.

He redshirted during his first year in Corvallis in 2013. He didn’t see the field as a redshirt freshman and then Riley left for Nebraska. Once again, Kempt was left in a spot of uncertainty.

Former Wisconsin coach Gary Anderson was then hired to take over the Beavers and he brought with him a spread offense that didn’t necessarily fit the pro-style quarterbacks Riley had tried to stockpile.

“When Coach Riley left, there was an offensive philosophy change with Coach Anderson so there were a couple of us that left,” Kempt said after practice on Thursday. “You know, it happens. Guys come in, bring in their own quarterbacks, change the offenses, it’s part of college football because it’s a business. It’s understandable.”

Understandable, but it didn’t make the next move any easier. Kempt moved on Hutchinson Community College for his sophomore season, but didn’t see the field.

So, he turned to an old connection. He had been recruited by Toledo and head coach Matt Campbell when he was coming out of high school. A return to Ohio sounded nice.

He took a visit for the Rockets’ season finale against Western Michigan. The next day, Campbell took the job at Iowa State.

“My first time up here was I think a week after he took the job,” Kempt said. “I drove up after community college was done with and it was the first time I laid eyes on this place. You know, I love Ohio, I love the Midwest so this was a very natural fit for me.”

Kempt wouldn’t be on scholarship in Ames, like he had in Corvallis and Hutchinson, but he would have a chance to battle it out at quarterback. He arrived in the spring at the same time as true freshman Zeb Noland to compete for the backup job behind Joel Lanning.

The quarterback picture became even less clear when it was announced on signing day that Iowa State had picked up former Georgia quarterback and four-star prospect, Jacob Park.

Kempt was pushed further down the depth chart. That was until Noland went down with a knee injury in practice last week.

Now, he finds himself third on the depth chart and, in theory, only a few plays away from being thrust onto the field.

“I think all the reps in spring ball, all the reps I’m getting right now have really helped me,” Kempt said about the potential of seeing the field for the first time since high school. “I’m definitely back in the full swing of things.”

Jared Stansbury


Jared a native of Clarinda, Iowa, started as the Cyclone Fanatic intern in August 2013, primarily working as a videographer until starting on the women’s basketball beat prior to the 2014-15 season. Upon earning his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Iowa State in May 2016, Jared was hired as the site’s full-time staff writer, taking over as the primary day-to-day reporter on football and men’s basketball. He was elevated to the position of managing editor in January 2020. He is a regular contributor on 1460 KXNO in Des Moines and makes regular guest appearances on radio stations across the Midwest. Jared resides in Ankeny with his four-year-old puggle, Lolo.