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Nwangwu declares for NFL Draft

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.

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.