Cyclones bring in 22, one more pending

ISU football coach Paul Rhoads received his first signing day surprise as he went through the process of receiving the national letters of intent from his third recruiting class.

That surprise, ironically enough, was the weather in Dallas, Texas, which prevented one possible letter of intent from being faxed in. That player, Kenneth Lynn, a three-star defensive back from Dallas according to, has verbally committed to be a Cyclone."We are announcing a class of 22 and we anticipate that number will change by one in the next 24 hours weather permitting in Dallas," Rhoads said. "The day went very smoothly and as planned as the faxes came in outside of that."

The current class features multiple players at each position offensively and defensively, including three at quarterback. The future Cyclones includes multiple explosive offensive players that have won high school awards and set high school records, along with players with bloodlines that include an Olympic gold medalist and an NFL offensive lineman.

"It's a balanced class when we talk about the four primary areas geographically when we recruit along with four junior college players, three of which are already here," Rhoads said. "Our staff continues to do an outstanding job of evaluating talent and has put together a class that we are extremely pleased with."

One of those junior college players is quarterback Steele Jantz, the California junior college offensive player of the year. Jantz is already on campus in Ames and figures to be in the battle to replace Austen Arnaud as the starter along with players already on the roster and two other freshmen.

"Every quarterback that we have on the roster will be competing for that starting job," Rhoads said. "We look for three things in a quarterback: the combination of intelligence and leadership, accuracy athleticism, both in our designed running game and getting themselves out of trouble.

"Steele possesses all of those attributes and also has the "it" factor that you look for in the quarterback position," Rhoads said.

The Cyclone coaches were also able to pick up Jantz's favorite receiver in junior college, Aaron Horne, along with Sam Tautolo, who also played his junior college ball in California. Tautolo is the son of John Tautolo, who played for three NFL teams, and also has cousins playing in both the NFL and Major League Baseball.

"We had some attrition at the wide receiver position in our program and we were able to secure Aaron; there is a nice timing between him and (Steele)," Rhoads said. "We were hoping to get a center, it was even better to get one that could be here in the spring and that gives him a chance to earn a starting spot."

One of the other quarterbacks happens to be the nephew of Olympic gold medal softball player Dot Richardson, Sam Richardson out of Winter Park, Florida. Things could get confusing for the coaches, however, as another future Cyclone has the same name, a defensive back out of Texas.

Iowa State also picked up two running backs that put up prolific numbers throughout their senior season as well as their career. Rob Standard is the all-time leading rusher in the St. Louis area and Iowa State was able to win a recruiting battle against Nebraska for Standard. DeVondrick Nealy will also be a Cyclone, turning down offers from schools such as Stanford, Tennessee and defending national champion Auburn.

"You can't have a deep enough backfield at the college level," Rhoads said. "Running back and quarterback are two positions at the high school level that coaches put their best athletes and you can't sign enough of those players."

Despite the smaller number of recruits compared to the 28 from 2010, Rhoads mentioned that his classes will address the needs that his staff feels that they have.

"In recruiting, it's not those that you don't get that hurt you, it's those that you do get that don't pan out," Rhoads said. "We are not always looking for the best players out there, but we are looking for the players that best fit our program.

"It is very systematic in how we recruit. As we look at the roster at the end of 2010, we start to assess our needs and how many of each position we want and then we go to evaluating them and securing them," Rhoads said.

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