Ankeny Skill Player Weighs Options

Iowa State is in a tense battle for a commitment from an in-state prep, but Dan McCarney and his staff aren't competing with Iowa as much as an out-of-state program with some local connections.

The Cyclones were the first program to offer Ankeny running back/wide receiver Andy Brodell after he shined at summer padded camp last month.

But Pittsburgh stepped up to the plate two weeks later with coaches Paul Rhoads, an Ankeny native and former secondary coach at ISU, and McCarney's former director of football operations Charlie Partridge, now a defensive line coach with the Panthers.

Right now the two are on an even plane says Brodell, an all-conference standout last season for state qualifier Ankeny.

"Iowa State and Pittsburgh are the two offers that I have right now, and I know Iowa is still very interested," said Brodell, who rushed for 1,500 yards and 20 touchdowns in 2002. "Both Iowa State and Pittsburgh are similar in a lot of ways and are good schools. I'm not leaning towards anything right now. I don't make one school think they're not in the hunt, because that's not the case. Both schools are there and I like both."

Although the decision appears to be a difficult to make, Brodell hopes to have it done by the time the Hawks open play in early September.

"I've been doing a lot of research," he said. "This is probably one of the biggest choices I'll have to make in my entire lifetime. If it would be at all possible, I would like to make my decision before football starts and get it out of the way, and I think I'm on pace to do that. A lot of thought goes into it each day."

Brodell started getting attention from Division I programs around the time he completed a stellar track career. He ran times of 10.7 seconds in the 100, 21.58 in the 200 and a 47.7 split in a 1,600-meter relay.

The three-time state champion carried that momentum into camps in successive weeks in Ames, Iowa City and Pittsburgh. He also indicated Kansas State and Northern Iowa have contacted him.

"There was some interest right after track, but it really did take off after Iowa State's camp," Brodell said. "A week after that I went to Iowa and they gave me a good look, then a week later it was Pittsburgh. It all did kind of go down fast and it does that. When that first offer comes, that makes the other schools that much more interested.

"I think the Iowa State coaches wanted to see if I was a football player and if I had the toughness and whether I'd stick my nose in a play. I get that by playing running back at Ankeny. Going into the camp, I knew I had to perform well in that and that was probably one thing they looked at more than anything else. They knew the speed was there and that I could catch the ball, but wanted to see if I had the toughness to play Division I football."

The 6-foot-2, 185-pounder will most likely play running back or wide receiver at the next level, but increased playing time at free safety this season could get him some attention on defense.

"I went to Iowa State's camp and worked out with the running backs in the morning and wide receiver in the afternoon," Brodell said. "I thought schools would look at me more for defensive back, but I don't play a lot of that right now. I might play a little free safety at Ankeny this year."

Brodell rushed for 1,500 yards and 20 touchdowns last season for Class 4A power Ankeny.

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