Iowa State junior running back Breece Hall breaks the tackle of TCU safety Nook Bradford en route to the end zone for a touchdown in the second quarter on Friday, Nov. 26, 2021, at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames.
Could Iowa State have a player opt-out of the program’s bowl game in order to preserve their professional future for the first time in 2021?
That remains to be determined, according to Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell.
It is likely to be a topic of conversation inside the Bergstrom Football Complex this week ahead of the Cyclones’ Cheez-It Bowl match-up with Clemson on Dec. 29 in Orlando, especially when you consider the potential early-round grades guys like Breece Hall, Charlie Kolar, Mike Rose and Will McDonald could receive from the NFL advisory board later this month.
“I think those are all really good discussions that we’ll continue to have,” Campbell said during a teleconference with reporters on Sunday. “Believe me, the early part of this past week was really kind of to get our own house in order. Kind of evaluate where our seniors were going, what they were doing and what their plans were. I think a really great positive thing from my end, almost to a person is, no matter what the future holds for him, I think everybody wants to see this thing out and put a great end to what has been a really great season for our kids.”
Hall is likely to be the biggest question mark in this equation with the junior already slated as the No. 1 running back in this year’s draft class by ESPN’s Mel Kiper.
Obviously, I’m not saying Hall should sit out the game, but I can certainly understand where he would be coming from if that is the decision he makes. What more does that young man have to show professional scouts in this one game that he hasn’t in his three years as a Cyclone?
The same can be said for Kolar (No. 7 tight end on Kiper’s board), Enyi Uwazurike (No. 4 defensive tackle), Rose (No. 8 inside linebacker) and McDonald (No. 5 outside linebacker).
Shoot, Hall, Kolar, Rose and McDonald all still have the option to return to school for the 2022 season if they wanted to, and it is possible at least one of them could come back, but seems highly unlikely all of them would choose to do so.
Regardless, it seems like we could have answers to all of this as soon as this week.
“My expectation is if there is anybody that chooses not to play, we’ll probably find that out here in the next five or six days,” Campbell said. “But I would say the bulk or majority of our team will be prepared to go to this bowl game and play.”