Nov 25, 2017; Manhattan, KS, USA; Kansas State Wildcats head coach Bill Snyder shakes hands with Iowa State Cyclones head coach Matt Campbell at midfield following the Wildcats’ last-minute touchdown win at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. The Wildcats won the game 20-19. Mandatory Credit: Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports
MANHATTAN, Kan. — Matt Campbell knows the rumors are swirling.
When he got to his postgame press conference on Saturday in Manhattan, he might not have known about the report that named him a strong candidate for Nebraska’s newly open head coach position. But Iowa State’s second-year head coach knows his name continues to come up in coaching search discussions.
Recruits know it too. Iowa State currently has 17 players committed in the 2018 class and Campbell knows the only way he can prove the rumors are not true is to show them.
“You can tell the recruits whatever you want. You know what I’m saying? But I think until you show it and until it’s proven, then it is what it is,” Campbell said following the Cyclones’ 20-19 loss to Kansas State. “I think that’s the reality of the times we live in. I think it ends up being your loyalty to staying where you are and (being) who you say you are. I think that’s the key to success in terms of longevity and building a program.”
Campbell has reiterated time and time again that he wants to build something at Iowa State. He does not want to leave the program in Ames as a foundation without a house on top. Campbell has a vision for where the Cyclones can go and — at least publicly — he seems dead set on getting them there.
One of the next steps of that process is officially locking up Iowa State’s 2018 class which ranks as the No. 58 group nationally. Campbell is hoping a portion of that can be completed when college football’s inaugural early signing period begins on Dec. 20.
“I certainly hope so,” Campbell said. “I think we’ve done a really good job of kind of anchoring and tying this class together and you hope you get the majority of those guys signed, sealed and ready to roll.”
Iowa State’s staff has its eyes on some big fish for the 2019 class, including four-star Council Bluffs, Lewis Central quarterback Max Duggan. Campbell has put the Cyclones in a good spot with the No. 309 recruit in the country and No. 9 dual-threat quarterback, but the job of sealing the deal could become more of an uphill climb while questions remain about his future in Ames.
Tennessee, Florida or Nebraska, all programs with more cachet on the national stage than Iowa State, could come calling during this offseason. Who knows how many more jobs will open up in the coming weeks. Colleges have started changing coaches like they change their underwear.
It seems likely as more jobs open, Campbell’s name will keep coming up. While it may come up, Iowa State’s head coach is still set on completing the foundation he has laid for Cyclone football.
“We’re here for the long haul,” Campbell said. “We’re going to build this thing the right way.”