RECRUITING: Three biggest positions of need for ISU’s 2018 class

Iowa State’s 2018 recruiting class is likely to be smaller than average with only 15 scholarship seniors currently on the roster. That fact makes each spot in the class valuable and requires the coaching staff to be somewhat selective.

There are some prospects that would have a guaranteed spot in the class such as top targets Creston offensive lineman Trevor Downing and Dowling defensive end John Waggoner. While the offensive and defensive lines will be important again for this class, there are three positions that stand above the rest as the three most crucial for Iowa State during his recruiting cycle.


Most programs want to add a signal-caller in every class and Iowa State is no different. The additions of Zeb Noland and Jacob Park in 2016 and Devon Moore in 2017 have done a lot to build up the Cyclones’ quarterback room that was somewhat depleted after Paul Rhoads’ tenure.

The coaching staff is looking to keep that success alive during this class and has zeroed in on its top target at the position. Bellflower, Calif. three-star Re-al Mitchell is set to announce his college decision on May 1 and the Cyclones are regarded as the frontrunners.

Rated as the No. 30 dual-threat quarterback in the class, Mitchell also holds offers from Hawaii, Rutgers, South Carolina, UCF and quite a few others. The 5-foot-11.5, 190-pound prospect threw for 3,011 yards and 31 touchdowns plus ran for 1,090 yards and 16 touchdowns as a junior St. John Bosco High School and unofficially visited Ames the weekend of March 25.

As of now, it seems likely Iowa State could fill this need within a week but we will have to wait and see. One positive: Iowa State’s newest commit, Texas wide receiver Sterling Galban, has joined the recruiting effort for Mitchell.

Running back

Iowa State’s 2017 recruiting class did not include a running back, but with young talent like David Montgomery, Kene Nwangwu and Mike Warren in the program, they had room to go without. With that said, not bringing in a in back in last class makes getting one in this year’s even more important.

Three-star Lamar, Texas product Ta’Zhawn Henry has an impressive list of offers and is one of the top guys on Iowa State’s board at the position. The Cyclones were the seventh program to offer the 5-foot-7, 157-pound prospect rated as the No. 16 all-purpose back in the class by 247Composite back in January and that list is now up to 17, including Baylor, Colorado, Boise State, Kansas and Kansas State.

Notably, he weighed in on Galban’s commitment on Monday, as well, even going as far as to ask if he should join Galban in a tweet that has since been deleted.

Another running back high on Iowa State’s board is three-star Opelika, Ala. native La’Damian Webb. The 5-foot-9, 190-pound prospect also holds offers from Missouri, Ole Miss, Indiana and quite a few others. He’s the No. 36 all-purpose back in the class and No. 22 player in Alabama.

Defensive back

Matt Campbell made it clear from day one at Iowa State that he will never turn down a good defensive back. In Iowa State’s 4-2-5 scheme and the pass-happy Big 12, it is easy to understand why.

The Cyclones brought in four defensive backs in last year’s class and it wouldn’t be overly surprising to see them reach that number again in 2018.

One prospect that has been near the top of Iowa State’s board for quite awhile is Rochester, Mich. three-star Vincent Gray. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound prospect is rated as the No. 57 cornerback in the class and No. 12 player in Michigan.

He also holds offers from Washington State, Purdue and quite a few other FBS programs.

Another name to know is Ellsworth C.C. cornerback Elijah Jones. Tight ends coach Alex Golesh stopped to see the 6-foot-3, 175-pound prospect last Monday during the spring evaluation period and he is someone is the staff is keeping a close eye on moving forward.

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.