RECRUITING: Walk-on opportunity a dream come true for Gretna TE Morgan Bartman

For Morgan Bartman, the last two days have been a dream come true.

The 6-foot-6, 240-pound Gretna (NE) senior has been an Iowa State fan his whole life. Both of his parents are Iowa State graduates and his grandparents have been attending games in Ames for years.

On Sunday, Bartman announced his commitment to the Cyclones as a preferred walk-on.

It means the world to not only me but my family too,” Bartman told Cyclone Fanatic in a phone interview Monday night. “My grandma when I told her I got the opportunity to walk-on earlier this football season, she cried. Then when I called her the other night and told her I was going to be accepting it, she cried and she told me that she knew since the day I was born it was going to happen. It’s really hard for me to put into words the excitement I’m feeling right now.”

The recruiting process with Iowa State started for Bartman following a camp he attended in Ames over the summer. Iowa State’s assistant director of scouting Derek Hoodjer kept in contact with Bartman as his senior season, in which the Dragons went 11-1 with their only loss coming in the Class B state title game, began.

The projected tight end at the next level attended every Iowa State home game he could. On the day the Cyclones beat No. 4 TCU at Jack Trice Stadium, Bartman was told there would be a spot for him in Ames.

It’s been a dream my whole life,” Bartman said. “I don’t think I’ve missed more than a handful of games since I was three or four. The ability to be out on the field now is going to be pretty sweet.”

Bartman caught six passes for 84 yards and a touchdown during his senior season. Defensively, he was among the team leaders in tackles and was second on the team with 12 tackles for loss.

He said there is a chance he could move to the defensive side of the ball at some point in college, but he will be starting his Iowa State career in the tight ends room with Alex Golesh.

They’re getting a guy who has a high football IQ, is smart on the field and aggressive,” Bartman said when asked to describe himself as a player. “Sometimes I’m going to face kids who are faster than me and stronger than me, but I try to make up for that with my aggressiveness. Every time I’m out there I’ve got the mentality that I want to put someone on the ground.”

Bartman chose the walk-on spot at Iowa State over a handful of offers from Division II programs, including Minnesota State-Mankato, Nebraska-Kearney, Missouri Western, Augustana, Southwest Minnesota State and Sioux Falls.

He had been in contact with a number of FCS schools, but they told him he would have to wait until after the early signing period if he wanted a scholarship offer.

I didn’t want to wait,” Bartman said. “I knew I wanted to go to Iowa State so I didn’t see the point in waiting.”

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.

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