Nov 24, 2018; Ames, IA, USA; Iowa State Cyclones running back Kene Nwangwu (3) runs the football against the Kansas State Wildcats at Jack Trice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports
Another Cyclone senior has decided to take the next step in his career.
Running back and kick returner Kene Nwangwu announced on Thursday he intends to enter the 2021 NFL Draft rather than return for the extra year of eligibility the NCAA granted to all seniors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He’s the fourth Cyclone senior to publicly make that decision, joining defensive end JaQuan Bailey, safety Lawrence White and tight end Dylan Soehner.
Nwangwu leaves Iowa State as the best kick returner in school history. His 26.85 yard career kick return average is a program record while the 28.95 yard return average he posted in 2020 is the school’s second-best for a single-season. The 2020 honorable mention All-Big 12 selection also returned one kickoff for a touchdown during his career back in 2016 when he was named a freshman All-American at the return spot.
Additionally, Nwangwu’s 3,271 all-purpose yards are the ninth most by a Cyclone in their career. The majority of those yards came on kick returns, but he also 744 rushing yards and four rushing scores with the majority of those yards, and all the touchdowns, coming during his senior season.
Nwangwu’s departure, along with the transfer of redshirt junior tailback Johnnie Lang, leaves the Cyclones with only two returning scholarship running backs entering the 2021 season. That duo is headlined by junior Breece Hall, who finished sixth in the Heisman race, but redshirt sophomore Jirehl Brock carved out a bigger role for himself in the offense during the second half of the 2020 season.
Iowa State also signed three-star running back Deon Silas in the 2021 recruiting cycle.