Iowa State has had some pretty good defensive backs during the history of its football program, but the best one in recent memory is not very hard to dispute. Leonard Johnson became one of the Cyclones’ top cover guys this century during his career spanning from 2008 to 2011.

Johnson record 247 tackles, eight of them for a loss, intercepted six passes, forced six fumbles and recovered eight fumbles during his four seasons in Ames. The Clearwater, Fla. native was a two-time All-Big 12 selection and was the Al and Dean Knudson Award (given to Iowa State’s best defensive player) winner in 2011.

Johnson’s most memorable moment was his third quarter interception in the Cyclones’ upset win over No. 2 Oklahoma State in 2011. He held two-time Biletnikoff Award winner Justin Blackmon to 99 yards receiving in the game.

Johnson has gone on to record 189 tackles and five interceptions with three different teams in the National Football League. He signed with the Buffalo Bills as a free agent in March.

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.