QUOTEBOOK: What Matt Campbell said about his 2023 recruiting class individually

Iowa State coach Matt Campbell addressed media members Wednesday during his annual National Signing Day press conference. Below are quotes from him on some of the new Cyclones.

On the 2023 recruiting class overall:
“You know, we’re we’re really, really proud of what we put together in this recruiting class. And I think this is, again, a group that one of the best classes that we’ve been able to put together during our time here at Iowa State and, you know, I think so much of the credit of that really goes to our coaching staff, honestly, Derek Hoodjer who continues to do a great job leading and running our recruiting department and his team. And quite honestly, our players. You know, I think when you look at this group that’s coming in, you’re talking about all the things that we have built our program on elite competitors, guys that have won championship, guys that come from winning programs, cultural fits to what we’re about and who we are. And I think the proof of that was over even the course of the season, obviously, they’re they’re wanting to stick with and believing in the core values of what this program is about and coming in and transcending that program forward. And so, you know, we’re really proud of this group, I think we’ve hit, you know, a great deal in the Midwest again, and the foundation right here at home in our state. And you’ve really kind of touched on every position group, which we were really looking at that and trying to go and attack that. So like all the areas that we wanted to improve or hit we did and just really grateful and appreciative for this group of young men coming in here.

On looking to the transfer portal:
Yeah, you know, I think we love our roster right now. You know, I think when you look at really what’s happened over the last three weeks, probably the most powerful story of where this program is, I mean, you know, the the young men that decided to come back within our own roster, and then this roster, you know, of young men that are we’re adding today. You know, I think it’s as healthy and as good of a roster as we’ve had. So we’re really confident where we’re at right now quite honestly.”

On Abu Sama and his willingness to play either running back or defensive back:
“(We look at) what type of player are you getting in him in person, I think the person is greater than the player. And you know, I mean, we all saw what he did this year for his high school football team. And you know, and what, not only just the state championship game, but the consistency that he played week in and week out. And, you know, I think it was one of those great stories, because, you know, he came in earned his scholarship at camp last year. And you know, the competitive spirit, the toughness, and then you, man, you get this opportunity to sit down with his family and hear their story. And, you know, coming to the United States, their perseverance as a family. You know, he had a brother that was a great track athlete here. You know, it’s a powerful, it’s a powerful human story of who he is and what he’s about. And so I think the reality of Yes, He’s a phenomenal athlete, he can play running back, he can play corner, those things are all great. But again, when you when you build a program like ours, it’s the person it’s the who, and I don’t know if you could ask for our greater family or greater human integrator leader to come on board with us than a booth. So we’re really, we’re excited about him. And just to broaden it to Central Iowa as a whole when he got JJ (Kohl) in there, Jameis and others. What can you say about just the hyperlocal part of the class? That’s as talented as it is? Yeah. You know, I think, Rob, you know, for us from day one, and we’ve had I feel like earn the trust of the state and certainly the great high school coaches of this state. But, man, we wanted to do a great job, continuing to start our recruiting journey right here at home. And you know, how, obviously, for us when you not only just talk about players, then you talk about man, who is JJ Kohl, what has he done? And what’s he about? Who is Jamison Patton, Who is this young man? What does he stand for? What is he about? Kai black, Carson Rhodes, you know, in again, it’s not just the players, it’s the man look what they’ve done in their own program, look at the leadership and adversity they’ve already overcome, to get where they’re at. I think those are those are monumental wins for how we want to build this program, how we’re going to sustain this program and how we’re going to continue to move it forward. So, you know, I thought to be able to lay that foundation from really the early part of this recruiting journey with this current class. I think it was really, really important and always continue to be the focus for us as we continue to move ourselves forward.

On recruiting from Nebraska and Ben Brahmer, specifically:
Sure. I mean, you know, to elite players, right, I mean two elite players and two elite humans too. You know, you talk about Ben Brahmer just won a high school state championship. I don’t know, if we have recruited a better football player than Ben Brahmer during my time here, you know, his father, his ability, you would say a lot of like Allen Lazard lotta like elite talent in there, right? A guy that’s got a chance to be one of the best that have come through here in my opinion, you know, and you watch that kid play basketball, and he’s a double double guy and average in 20 and 20 and 12. In the basketball court, you watch how that guy has led his high school program. You talk about his father and what he stands for, and, man, you’re maybe the winningest high school football coach in the state of Nebraska and to be able to have the belief from his family, and the belief of that young man to want to come to school and play here. Man, I think that’s really powerful. For us. I think it was a, it was a huge win. And I think it’s a huge win for the future of our football program.

On Beni Ngoyi:
And then you talk about Beni, you know, and Benny’s a guy that we had a great relationship with, really over the course of last year and a half. And again, man, elite athleticism, kind of the Hakeem Butler style of athlete raw, but man, this explosive dynamic ability to go make plays. And, you know, for him to want to come to school here at the end of the day is is huge, you know, again, we’ve had great relationships with that high school football program, we’ve recruited that program. But I think for us, again, that’s six, eight hours from our doorstep. You know, obviously, the state of Iowa is really important. But I think that six, eight hour radius for us, it’s critical. And, you know, I think hopefully continuing to build the trust in high school football coaches and families that say, you know, what, coach came on his staff, they’re going to do it the right way, they’re going to treat our kids the right way. They’re going to do it, and be who they say they are, I think that’s helped us and to be able to get those two young men. What a huge win for Iowa State football in our program. So we’re really grateful again, for the trust of those families in belief in us.

On Jamison Patton:
And man, obviously, Jamison Patton has, you know, a lot of experience not only playing different positions, but also three or four different sports. How do you see potentially some of that versatility, kind of translating to football here? Yeah, I love the JMO story, because, you know, during COVID, that 2020 year, you know, I remember texting Derek, and after, you know, the first high school, the first football game that really got played was Valley played JMO. And that was the one game that he was able to play that year, if you remember, because I think the city canceled football after that game. And so, you know, I’ve watching that game on television. And if you guys remember that game, JMO is playing quarterback, and he’s doing everything and man, they almost win, right? They take him right down to the wire. And I remember calling Derek and I said, I don’t know who that is. But that kid’s really special. And that’s our kind of guy. And you know, fast forward a year later, he comes to camp, and you know, really, really was impressive in camp. We asked him to come back the next day and do a little bit of defensive back drill as well. And, you know, we offered them right on the spot. And I think is again, you talk about JMO not only is he a great football player, but you’re talking about a guy that man excels on the basketball court, never ran track before and gets himself into the truth state track tournament last year after jumping only to two times and gets himself to Drake, you know, you talk about an elite baseball player. competitive excellence. Right? And you didn’t you’ve heard me say this all the time. In our program, we’re better when we have elite competitive excellence. And again, Jay Moesgaard is good at competitive excellence as anybody I’ve seen. I mean, great leader, great human, unbelievable family. But I think the biggest thing about that guy is that guy’s got to have a chance to come in here and compete right away, because he knows how to compete at a really high level.

On Nate Scheelhaase and what he means to the staff:
Yeah, you know, I think, man, I don’t know, for me, if I can say enough great things, obviously about Nate. And I think again, it starts with core values, right? I think of, you know, who he is his ability to create great relationships and care about kids. And you know, I think to me, you know, college football, even though we can get off the rails on it sometimes and I get it. You know, it’s still about serving Leadership, it’s still about, man, our job is to take an 18 year old young man. And our job is to get that 18 year old young man to become a 22 year old man. And I think, to me, that is one of nature’s greatest qualities is, you know, he has a the servant heart to care and inspire and lead young people. And I think it showed up from day one. And I think it’s only continued on and so, you know, when, you know, we sat down and reflected and, you know, I think some of the things from an offensive standpoint, whether they were mutual or, you know, parting parting of the ways, you know, I think we looked at, okay, our realignment process, how do we align our program the right way, moving ourselves forward? We’ve had phenomenal coaches, we’ve had phenomenal people. And, man, I think one of the things that was evident is the right guy, after talking with some of our players, and after, you know, being able to sit there and evaluate it, man, what was the best thing for Iowa State football moving forward? You know, I think Nate was clearly the right answer. And so we’re really excited about that. And he’s done a great job on the recruiting trail.

On not seeing any commits flip to other schools this week:
Yeah, I again, I would hope that our whole deal in building this program is Be who you say your be in stand for what you’re really about. And, you know, again, I think we’ve also always been about man, building a program that loves care serves, empowers the young people in our program, we’ve been about a program that man that’s going to demand to stand for the right things. And, you know, I think, for us to get the loyalty and the trust of these families from, you know, the start of this journey, to the end of this journey. And to be able to get to the finish line here. And to be able to start this journey with this team coming back in January, and some of these guys in June, I think it’s really powerful. I think it’s it is the story. And again, a lot of that, that is the credit of the players in our program. I think when you bring recruits into your program, the thing that I always say is man, don’t listen to what we have to say as coaches, man get around our kids see what they say, what’s their experience look like and feel like and, you know, we we’ve got great kids here, and they believe in what’s going on and appreciative of that. And we certainly got phenomenal coaches, we got a lot of people that touch our program that make the experience here at Iowa State, from academics, to athletic training, to mental health to all these areas, man, they do an incredible job serving our players. And I think that is the story. And that’s why, you know, we’re sitting here today with a really, really happy and really powerful signing day for Iowa State football.

On David Caulker and if player relationships led to him flipping mid-year from Iowa to Iowa State:
“Yeah, you know, David is a David is another one of those incredible stories, you know, and I mean, I I leave David’s name out after the first question about the the Des Moines area, you know, but I don’t know if there’s a greater story or win than David. You know, I just was at his basketball game last week. And man, he scores 24 points. He has 14 rebounds, and he’s leaning his high school basketball program and you talk about, man, the job is high school football coaches done. You talk about that guy, revitalizing a high school football program and David being the pillar of that and it’s like, well, shoot, we’ve had guys here that were the pillar of that and he’s just got that spirit in that embodiment. And, you know, I do, I think David would say, the kids, the feeling that people within our program, I think, really made a huge impact on him. And, you know, for us, you know, just the belief and what David’s about what he stands for, what kind of high school program he’s coming from, we thought it was just a great match. But I would, I would say, David would certainly say that for sure.