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Football

One of the 2021 class’ top kickoff prospects set to join ISU as preferred walk-on

On Monday, Iowa State added a piece that will hopefully help resolve its kickoff woes of the 2020 season in the years ahead.

Hartland, Wis. native Tyler Bittman announced he has accepted Iowa State’s preferred walk-on offer extended last week and will join the program next fall. Bittman is considered a five-star prospect by Kohl’s Kicking and held five scholarship offers, including from Army and Air Force.

“Bittman recently competed at Kohl’s National Scholarship Camp in July of 2020,” his Kohl’s Kicking profile says. “He has arguably the strongest kickoff leg in the country. In the winter, he charted a big ball of 85 yards with 4.37 seconds of hang time and won the kickoff competition day one with a 77 yard 4.4 second blast. Bittman is capable of competing for a Power 5 starting spot on kickoffs right now. Increasing the command of his ball flight off the ground and increasing the consistency of his ball/foot contact will help him continue to develop into one of the best prospects in the country.”

Kohl’s Kicking ranks Bittman, 6-foot-3, 195-pounds, as the No. 33 kicker in the 2021 recruiting class. He was the 12th highest-rated kicker left uncommitted following last Wednesday’s start of the early signing period.

This news will be welcomed by Iowa State fans who have seen their team struggle in kickoff coverage throughout the 2020 campaign, including allowing two kick return touchdowns. The unit played a crucial role in Oklahoma’s sizeable field position advantage during the Cyclones’ 27-21 loss to the Sooners this past Saturday in the Big 12 championship game.

All three young men who handled kickoff duties for the Cyclones in 2020 — Eddie Ogamba, Cameron Shook and Drake Nettles — are slated to return next season, but competition can certainly be expected for the role during the offseason.

Jared Stansbury

administrator

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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