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There were not many surprises on Iowa State’s pre-fall camp depth chart released earlier this week, but one listed starter in the linebacking corp was definitely unexpected.

Redshirt sophomore Marcel Spears Jr. was listed as the starter at one of the Cyclones’ three linebacker spots ahead of incumbent Reggan Northrup despite seeing little true action last season. Spears played in 11 games in 2016, but most of the action he saw came on special teams.

Spears was rated as a three-star recruit out of Olathe North High School in 2015. He chose the Cyclones over Kansas State, Kansas and Missouri. The former second-team all-state selection was rated as the No. 72 outside linebacker in the country and best one in the state of Kansas.

The 6-foot-1, 215-pounder finished his high school career with 337 tackles, 21 of them for a loss, seven sacks and four interceptions. He recorded more than 100 tackles during his sophomore and junior seasons.

Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell said Spears put together one of the most impressive springs of any player on Iowa State’s roster, and there is still a long ways to go before Northern Iowa rolls into Jack Trice Stadium on Sept. 2, but it is still encouraging to see a young player come into his own in his third year on campus.

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.