JaQuan Bailey (Left) and Ray Lima (Right) at Iowa State’s Open Practice on Friday. Photo By Connor Ferguson.
Fall camp is truly in full swing with a week’s worth of practices in the books and the Cyclones set to scrimmage for the first time this season on Saturday. I asked around to a few folks close to the program to see which guys have really been jumping out during the first week of practice.
Here’s the list of guys I’ve heard about most:
Breece Hall, Running Back
It sounds like Hall has been good as advertised during the team’s first week of full-team drills. The former four-star recruit is one of the crown jewels of the Cyclones’ recruiting efforts during Matt Campbell’s time at the helm of the program and it is sounding like he could see major time on the field sooner rather than later.
Darren Wilson, Wide Receiver
For three years, Kene Nwangwu has been the consensus fastest player on Iowa State’s football team, but, apparently, Wilson has given him a run for his money so far this fall. The JUCO transfer from Butler Community College is still raw considering he just arrived on campus this summer. Still, don’t be surprised at all if the 6-foot-3, 200-pound sophomore becomes a major piece of Iowa State’s offense — maybe even as the top guy at the z-receiver spot.
Greg Eisworth, Safety
I know what you’re thinking. Should we really be surprised the defending Big 12 Newcomer of the Year has been impressive during camp? No, we probably should not, but I have been hearing his play has been more than good enough to deserve inclusion on this list. Eisworth is one of the most important cogs of the Cyclones’ stout defense and he could be primed to have an even better season as a junior in 2019 than he did during his breakout 2018 campaign.
Julian Good-Jones, Left Tackle
Another name that on the surface seems like an uninspired pick, Good-Jones has added quite a bit of weight during the offseason and is playing the best football of his career so far entering his senior season. He is one of the most experienced players on the Cyclones’ roster and if he, along with the rest of the offensive line, can make a jump then the ceiling for the season goes up another notch.
Ray Lima, Nose Guard
On media day, Campbell credited Lima as the most important piece of the Cyclones’ turnaround over the past three seasons. He has quietly become one of the most important players in college football while putting up few tangible numbers, but it sounds like that may be coming to an end in his senior season. From what I’ve been told, Lima has been more disruptive so far this fall than he has during any other span in his career and that should be a scary thing to hear for opposing offenses.