Cyclones land possible replacement at center

Replacing outstanding offensive lineman Ben Lamaak will not be an easy thing to do for the Iowa State coaching staff but they may have found his replacement tonight when Saddleback (CA) Junior College center Sam Tautolo announced he was committing to Iowa State.

"The coaches told me they have a dire need at center so it looks like I might have a pretty solid chance of coming in and starting," said Tautolo. "It's really exciting because I only have two years left and so I need to make the best of the situation. I fully plan on extending my talents on to their program."

The 6-foot-4, 305-pound center said that Iowa State has had their eye on him since last spring.

"Coach Bob Elliott came and saw me last spring at Saddleback," said Tautolo. "Then they stopped calling for a while at the beginning of the season but over the past few weeks he started calling again. He's just a good old fashioned recruiter who has shown great character while recruiting me. He really made me feel like I was a key guy that they needed."

Sam took his official visit last week and really came away impressed.

"Ames really sold me and even though it's a lot different that I'm used to it's really the best fit for me," he said. "My host was Alex Alvarez and I really enjoyed hanging out with all the linemen. There was definitely a bond and I look forward to joining a group that shows that kind of unity."

Tautolo also enjoyed getting to meet his future head coach. "I think Coach Rhoads can build a dynasty here and he's definitely one of the key reasons that I chose Iowa State," he said. "He has great character and you can really tell how much faith he has in his players and in the Iowa State program."

Sam, who also considered Arizona and Arkansas State, will be graduating in December and is looking forward to learning an offense that should be pretty similar to what he was part of at Saddleback.

"We ran the pistol and a lot of spread formations so it should be pretty similar to what I'm used to playing," said Tautolo. "Spring practice is going to be a major factor in regards to learning the offense. It will be a good chance to show my abilities because that will the time when they decide whether I will start or not in the fall."

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