FALL CAMP: Verdon making strides leading into redshirt freshman season

Malik Verdon will take the field during the 2022 season for Iowa State in what will essentially be his rookie year.

The former three-star recruit in the 2021 class redshirted last season and was listed as a second-string safety ahead of the Cheez-It Bowl game against Clemson in December.

Defensive backs coach Deon Broomfield says he’s come a long way in game preparation.

“I think it’s been more of a mindset shift in like maturity – his approach to the game, how (is he) preparing,” Broomfield said. “From the physical side of it, he has a lot of tools of length and athleticism, but his biggest growth so far has been in the film room.”

Broomfield has confidence in Verdon’s frame – he wanted to see the off-field improvements with it.

For a player named to the preseason Big 12 all-Academic Rookie team, being studious comes right in his wheelhouse.

“It’s been his alignments, his assignments,” Broomfield said. “Things that take no talent, but you have to study and be on that.”

Verdon will be competing with true freshman Trevon Howard and JUCO transfer Treyveon McGee in terms of getting reps on the field.

However, the philosophy at the position will be based more on depth than it will a typical two or three-deep list.

“My biggest deal is giving those guys opportunities to see if they can play at that level so that you’re not a 3 or a 2,” Broomfield said. “My biggest deal is that we’ve got to create the depth because everybody has to be ready to play.”

Iowa State has been pleased with each player’s improvements in a short amount of time thus far.

“To see where they’re at already has been really encouraging for depth purposes,” Broomfield said.

There’s certainly a lot to prove yet for Verdon, but the pieces are falling into place for what could turn into a breakout season.