When Paul Rhoads heard he had picked up his second commitment of the night, he summed it up thusly:
"Today the team has gotten better."
According to Qujuan Floyd, that's the first thing Iowa State's head coach said to him on the phone when Floyd told Rhoads he wanted to be a Cyclone, the second JUCO safety to commit to the Cyclones in the span of four hours, with Devron Moore committing earlier on an in-home visit.
Floyd, from Santa Monica JUCO, and Moore, from NE Oklahoma A&M C.C., perhaps represent the new wave of Iowa State safeties as the Cyclones have to replace Jacques Washington and Deon Broomfield.
The Cyclones aren't interested in bringing in JUCO kids to play on special teams and they proved this season they're quite adept at selecting the right kids. E.J. Bibbs, Rodney Coe and Aaron Wimberly, the three JUCOs in 2013, all took turns in starring roles this fall.
Moore is a December graduate who'll take part in spring ball, while Floyd won't get on campus until June. That could prolong his learning curve, but make no mistake, Iowa State is expecting each of these guys to immediately compete for the two opening starting jobs.
"That's the plan," Floyd said Tuesday night. "I'm ready to come in and play."
Said Moore's defensive coordinator, Zach Allen: "That was a big deal to Devron, a chance to come in and contribute right away."
Moore and Floyd took their official visits together over the weekend of Nov. 22, braving the five-degree temperatures. They each committed quicker than expected to secure a spot on the Cyclones, Moore passing up trips to Texas Tech and West Virginia and Floyd deciding waiting for a Jan. 17 trip to Utah could cost him a chance with the Cyclones.
Yes, despite a 3-9 season, Iowa State's prestige had recruits nixing free trips to power-conference schools.
"Iowa State was showing me the most interest," Floyd said. "I talk to the coaches multiple times a week and I never hear from Utah.
"I chose Iowa State."
Four days after they ended their worst season under Rhoads and three days after they announced the dismissal of two coaches, the Cyclones suddenly have momentum aplenty heading into the winter recruiting period, thanks to what will now be known as Two Safety Tuesday.
Three-star player, likely a free safety, chose Iowa State over TCU, West Virginia and Texas Tech … Recorded three interceptions as a sophomore, taking two back for touchdowns, and picked off seven passes as a freshman … teammates with ISU offer Keishawn Richardson, a cornerback … A native of Joplin, Missouri.
Late-rising prospect chose Iowa State over offers from Utah, New Mexico and Texas State … Notched five interceptions as a sophomore at Santa Monica and as a freshman had seven picks to go with 85 tackles and 13 PBUs … played with Oregon star De'Anthony Thomas at Crenshaw High in Los Angeles.
Six of Iowa State's 17 current commits in the 2014 class are defensive backs, which makes sense considering the Cyclones are losing their two starting safeties and cornerback Jansen Watson.
There's still a chance Iowa State takes a seventh cornerback. Largo (FL) player Cordell Hudson, a three-star player, has a top three of Syracuse, Rutgers and Iowa State, not in that order, and has two December visits to the first two schools to knock out. Then he'll make his decision.
Iowa State also has an offer out to Moore's teammate, JUCO cornerback Keishawn Richardson.
And don't sleep on Tucker (GA) athlete Dominick Sanders, who's been relatively quiet but is a staff favorite and would be a no-brainer.