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.