O-Line, D-Line Earn High Marks

Iowa State is entering its final weeks of summer workouts under strength and conditioning coach Matt McGettigan. CN recently caught up with McGettigan for some player updates and to get some news and notes from the last six weeks of intense work in Ames.

It should come as great news to Cyclone fans that, when asked what positions have been most impressive this summer, McGettigan wasted no time mentioning both the offensive and defensive lines. Senior leaders Casey Shelton, Bob Montgomery and Jordan Carstens have set great examples at their position and the others are following the cue.

"The offensive line has been great," said McGettigan. "Casey Shelton has had an excellent summer. His goal was 295 pounds and he's 292. Cale Stubbe and Seth Zehr have had great summers. Aaron Brant is 310 pounds and has done a good job. Bob Montgomery has had an outstanding summer. (Luke) Vander Sanden has been excellent."

Like he did last season with freshman anchor mate Nick Leaders, Carstens is showing the way with his work ethic and impressive results in the weight room and outside for conditioning drills.

Carstens reports in at 301 pounds and is in the best shape of his stellar career, said McGettigan.

"You've got to get some footage of Jordan Carstens," McGettigan said. "He's really looking good physically. We put it on the board because it was so great -- he did seven chin-ups at 301 pounds where he's pulling the bar to his sternum. His strength and power are amazing. He is really putting the whole package together. He's big but he's strong and powerful with that. He's really running good."

Those around Carstens, notably Leaders, Cephus Johnson and Tyson Smith, have also made the commitment this off-season.

"Nick Leaders has had a great summer," McGettigan said. "He's the type of guy that whatever you tell him to do, he'll do it. You don't have to say much, he just comes to work every day and is solid. He's right at 290 pounds, is stronger and has worked hard to improve himself.

"Cephus Johnson is as big as he's ever been at 243 pounds and he's as strong as an ox. He's really hitting his stride. Physically he's got a chance. He started to put it together in spring ball and Coach Mac called him one of the most improved guys. Strength-wise, for his body weight, he is one of the best on the team. On the other side, Tyson is in great shape and holding steady at 239 pounds."

Skill players not to be overlooked

ISU's group of receivers, while they might not have gotten their proper due in spring ball with three quarterbacks jockeying for a starting position, have put themselves in position for a great year.

"Lane Danielsen has had an outstanding summer and he's at 197 pounds," McGettigan said. "Jon Davis is 193 pounds and 194 is the heaviest he's been coming back. We've set his goal at 198 pounds. Todd Miller has been good. Jamaul Montgomery is 200 pounds and having a great summer so far. Jack Whitver and Lance Young have been really good. Lance is 180 pounds and he's only two away from his goal."

Much was made of Waye Terry's progress last week, but Cris Love and Austin Flynn are also having solid Julys.

"Cris Love is really steady at 221 pounds," McGettigan said. "Austin Flynn has had a really good summer. His goal is 195 pounds and he's at 192 pounds right now and came in at 187. He's really worked to improve himself physically this summer."

Freaks on defense

In addition to Johnson's eye-popping strength in the weight room and athleticism in conditioning, JaMaine Billups, Ellis Hobbs and Anthony Forrest consistently earn high marks.

Greatly under-sized throughout his career at ISU, Marc Timmons is at an all-time high of 168 pounds – with a goal of making 170 by preseason practice – and his four percent body fat puts him atop the list of players.

"He wants to do well in his senior year and he understands what it takes," McGettigan said.

Elsewhere on defense, Brandon Brown and a cast of linebackers have either reached their pre-summer goals or are approaching them heading into the final weeks of workouts.

"At linebacker, Brandon Brown has been really good this summer and is putting it all together," McGettigan said. "He's at 231 pounds and we want to hold him about right there. Matt Robertson has been really good. Joe Woodley has had a good summer. Chris Whitaker is back doing everything and has been solid.

"At SAM linebacker, Nik Moser is 206 pounds and has been running with the skill guys. We haven't really adjusted much with him being at a new position, the base program hasn't changed. We want him to get stronger and still be explosive as he puts the weight on. We wanted him to be at 210 pounds."

What figures to be the best secondary in Dan McCarney's tenure hasn't taken this summer off, either.

"Harold Clewis, Anthony Forrest and Ellis Hobbs have been outstanding," McGettigan said. "Steve Paris is starting to put it together where he's really training well."

In the final part of an up-close look at summer conditioning, CN will run down the top freshmen of the summer and those that might be a ways away from contributing.

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