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Each day leading up to Iowa State’s season opener against South Dakota State, Cyclone Fanatic will check another day off the calendar with a memorable statistic, player or game as part of our Countdown to Kickoff presented by Tailgate Clothing. 

Darius Darks‘ career at Iowa State could be described as solid, but there is no doubt his first year on campus was his best.

The Austin, Texas native caught 49 passes as a true freshman in 2008, breaking the single-season record for receptions by a freshman. Darks also became only the third Iowa State freshman to record 100 yards receiving in a single game, joining Todd Blythe and Jim Knuth, and his 477 receiving yards remains in the top-five in program history by a freshman.

The 2011 co-captain never reached the same heights during his following three seasons for the Cyclones while finishing his career with 127 receptions, good for eighth in school history, 1,346 yards and seven touchdowns.

In the nearly 10 years since Darks’ record-breaking rookie campaign, only one other freshman has eclipsed the 40 reception mark — Allen Lazard.

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.