RECRUITING: Matt Campbell on Iowa State’s 2022 early signing class

Iowa State signed 20 high schoolers and two transfers to its roster on Wednesday at the start of the early signing period.

It stands as the highest-rated class at Iowa State according to the 247Composite rankings and is currently slated as the No. 29 class in the country.

Campbell talked about the players he and his staff will welcome on campus in the coming off-season.

“I think with some of the additions even today, I think we feel really confident about our roster moving forward – maybe as confident today as we’ve felt in a long in terms of alignment,” Campbell said. “The thing for us with losing (as many players) in our senior class, knowing some of the areas that we were really going to need to fortify… we felt like we really hit on every spot we needed to.”

Here’s what he had to say about the individual members of the class:

On running back Cartevious Norton

“I would almost say his recruiting process was almost as similar as what Brock Purdy’s was. (Purdy) got injured his junior year and had very limited (film). (Norton) had the same issue. He had a shoulder injury with a collarbone situation that happened early in his junior year, so there was very limited videotape. To go and see (Norton) practice, watch what he did this year, and then to meet him – I’d just say he’s got elite traits. Now, we’ll see as far as the future kind of unfolds, the bright lights, the work ethic… that will all kind of unfold – but I would say he’s one of the really special pieces of this recruiting class.”

On tight ends Andrew Keller and Gabe Burkle

“My starting point with both of those guys would be elite winners. Andrew Keller won a state championship and during his playing time, has won two or three. He’s maybe as dynamic of a tight end in terms of the skill set that we’ve had here at Iowa State. When you talk about Gabe Burkle, we feel equally the same way about Gabe. He’s cut out of the Dylan Soehner / Chase Allen type in terms of being big and having physicality. He tore his ACL his junior year – that’s never easy – but he bounced back. He’s one of those guys that, when we talk about fighting through adversity, the things that we talk about in our program – Gabe already defines that.”

On edge rusher Ikenna Ezeogu

“I would say probably one of the most dynamic athletes in our recruiting class. I went and watched (Ezeogu) play basketball and I kind of joked with him that I remember four years ago watching Will McDonald play basketball – he had elite burst, elite athleticism, this unique and powerful ability to change directions. (Ezeogu) definitely has every one of those tools.”

On edge rusher Tommy Hamann

“One of the things I always say I love about the recruiting process is that it’s never over. It’s still not over. We’re constantly evaluating the young people in terms of getting the right guys to Iowa State. Tommy was probably a guy that had one of the best days (at camp) during my five years here at Iowa State. We watched tape of seniors and juniors a lot and we watched Tommy every week. I think as the final hours ticked down, we kind of looked at ourselves and said ‘Man, this guy is exactly what we’re about. That was a special moment for us to kind of be able to go and say, ‘You know what this is our kind of guy and he’s earned the right to be here.’ We want him leading the future of our program.”

On linebackers Will McLaughlin and Jacob Imming:

“I think my starting point with both of those young men are winners. We’ve still got guys competing for state champions because their seasons aren’t done yet. Overall in its entirety, it’s still a foundation of getting guys from successful programs that know how to win and will bring those qualities to Iowa State and continue to infuse our locker room with those very qualities.”

On linebacker and Delaware transfer Colby Reeder:

“From (Reeder’s) standpoint, you talk about a football player and a football family. (He’s) a guy that probably could have gone to the NFL, but chose to come back to school and enhance himself. When you look at his video and watch him play, and some of the elite linebacker play we’ve had here, there’s some very similar traits.”