FOOTBALL PREVIEW: The player you’re most intrigued to watch

In another piece of a 10-part series previewing the Iowa State football season, Chris Williams, Jared Stansbury, Jeff Woody Brent Blum and Connor Ferguson dive into Iowa State’s schedule and pick the Cyclone they’re most excited to watch in 2022.

Chris Williams: It’s Hunter Dekkers. The behind-the-scenes confidence the program has had about this kid for well over a year has been deafening. We saw in-game glimpses a year ago. Hunter carries an aura with him that is contagious. I think because of his skill-set, the offense will be modified. Matt Campbell always talks about “players, formations and plays.” You’ve got a totally different guy taking snaps now. Easy answer here.

Jared Stansbury: In the aftermath of Big 12 Media Days in Dallas, there’s been a lot of talk about Iowa State’s offensive line and the development that group has made during the offseason. A lot of that growth has been attributed to multiple-time all-league selection Trevor Downing’s move to center.

I was told at the end of spring practice that Downing had been a legitimate difference-maker at the center position. I’m intrigued to see how much of a difference maker he really is sliding over one spot along the front.

I’d say I’m equally intrigued to see what that unit looks like when it is no longer playing with five guards, as has been discussed extensively since the end of last season.

How does Tyler Miller build on that Cheez-It Bowl performance against Clemson? Is Jake Remsburg truly back to full strength and can he look like the guy that he was in 2020?

The answers to those questions could dictate a lot of how we feel about Iowa State’s offense in 2022.

Jeff Woody: The whole running back room. Call me biased, but that is always exciting, especially with how diverse this room is and will be. I want Jirehl Brock (or someone) to take the reins and be *the guy.* Will that happen? Who knows. But this is the first time in a while, outside of Breece’s first few games of his freshman year, where we haven’t had a determined bell-cow. That is a fun challenge, especially at a position where the last 3 backs who have been the centerpiece of a Matt Campbell team are ga-zillionaires in the NFL (Kareem Hunt, Montgomery, Hall).

Brent Blum: I feel like I’m in the scene in Step Brothers with the many options for this answer, “So much room for activities!” Hunter Dekkers and Will McDonald are the obvious answers, but I’ll go a bit off the board and say Beau Freyler, who in my opinion, has the ability to be a complete game-changer for Iowa State that is flying way under the radar. Ask anybody in the football complex about Freyler and their eyes light up. He will be a household name around the Big 12 soon.

Connor Ferguson: When I first took the recruiting spot here, I tried early on to get a crash course through Iowa State’s 2022 recruiting class – looking at more highlight tapes, figuring out which guys had the intrigue around them. I kept coming back to Cartevious Norton. Coach Campbell and his staff have quite obviously developed running backs well. At 5-foot-11 and 210 pounds, and from what we saw in the pair of open practices this spring, I think Norton could turn into something really fun to watch if all goes according to plan.

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.