What are the recruiting ramifications of Matt Campbell’s new contract?

Oct 1, 2016; Ames, IA, USA; Iowa State Cyclones head coach Matt Campbell watches his team play the Baylor Bears at Jack Trice Stadium. The Bears beat the Cyclones 45-42. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Anyone who got on social media in the past few weeks, even months, saw the rumors. Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell‘s name was mentioned for nearly every major college football job opening in the country.

That’s why it comes as no surprise that Campbell was hearing from recruits about the swirling rumors. Would he be in Ames for the long haul?

He answered that question with a resounding “yes” on Monday by agreeing to a new six-year, $22.5 million contract. That answer could have serious ramifications for Iowa State moving forward on the recruiting trail.

“I think one of the challenges a little bit was you get sick of hearing that question as it plays out in the media,” Campbell said during a press conference on Tuesday. “Naturally, if you’re 18, 19-year-olds and you’re going through the recruiting process and their parents they begin to have those questions. I think to be able to put a stamp of stability of this is what we’re doing, this is who we say we are and this is where we’re going in this football program and being able to put some validity to it, I think that was really big. It certainly gave us a lot of momentum with our own players that we do have committed in this class and I think it has given us some really good momentum with some of these (2019), (2020) recruits that we’re trying to continue doing a great job recruiting.”

Yes, Campbell making a full commitment to Iowa State will be felt in the 2018 recruiting cycle. I’m sure it eased the nerves of the Cyclones’ 17 committed players in a class that can begin signing national letters of intent on Dec. 20.

But, those ripples will be most visible in the 2019 and 2020 recruiting cycles. While Iowa State has made a lot of headway in its past two classes, as well as this current one, it is the next two where Campbell and his staff can make their biggest moves yet.

Iowa State was one of the biggest stories in college football this season.

Do you think that goes unnoticed by players looking to make their college decision in the next few years?

Heck no.

Iowa State has started to build momentum on the football field. Winning seven games, including two against top-five teams, and showing progress on the field is not just a necessary step in building what Campbell calls a “real program,” but a required one.

You can always sell hope, but if the results don’t show on the field, does it really matter?

I think this is a big step from that aspect of this is what Coach Campbell said, this is what he’s going to do and in them really believing that’s what he was going to do,” Campbell said. “Hopefully that aspect of it has played out, but have we heard from a lot of kids, shoot, we did. We did before the game. We did after the game. I think that’s the unfortunate thing sometimes too with social media and the accessibility of social media for these guys. Our own guys are looking at that stuff so that’s where I think communication and being honest and open is really, really important from my end of it. I get it. It’s not going to change. That’s where communication from my end of it is really, really important.”

Iowa State is already a major player in the recruitment of several highly-touted players for the next few recruiting cycles. I know for a fact based on multiple conversations I have had questions of Campbell’s future were on the mind of four-star Council Bluffs, Lewis Central quarterback Max Duggan.

Those questions have been answered. Matt Campbell is in Ames and plans to be for the long haul. The man said it himself, he and his staff are just getting started.

Hopefully I think it’s already had a really good effect and I think it will continue to have that effect,” Campbell said. “I think as we continue to build a program in the right way, I think that will continue to have a positive effect for it as well.”

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.