The Cyclones always wanted to take two JUCO defensive ends in their 2014 recruiting class, needing to fill an immediate need after Willie Scott's graduation and bolster their ranks along the edge.
A few hours after officially announcing the signing of Gabe Luna of Butler (KS), a November offer who tallied productive run-stopping numbers, the Cyclones landed Pasadena JUCO's Dale Pierson, who must sit at or near the top of their 2014 wish list, as Pierson's held an Iowa State offer since Sept. 19.
The 6-foot-3, 260-pound Pierson is a May graduate and will have two years of eligibility.
The non-binding verbal commitment brings the Cyclones to 23 pledges.
Although Pierson doesn't enroll until the summer and Luna begins classes in January, Pierson still is a favorite to take Scott's old spot. He's had an Iowa State offer since before the JUCO season hit its midway point and his commitment was sealed Wednesday night by an in-home visit with Paul Rhoads.
Pierson visited Iowa State over the weekend of Nov. 22-24 in attendance with Luna, linebacker Jordan Harris and safeties Devron Moore and Qujuan Floyd, who have all since committed to Iowa State.
Harris, left, and Pierson on their official visits.
The next weekend Pierson visited Indiana, a trip he graded lower than the Cyclones.
Fresno State, California and Illinois were late to the party with Pierson, offering scholarships within the last week.
Pierson made his mark at Pasadena as a slick pass-rusher with 19 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks but he has the frame and durability to play 60 snaps a game.
Let's dive into quotes from Pierson today, including an interesting backstory ...
Pierson planned on taking some official visits after he decided last week not to commit to Iowa State, Luna's pledge giving him reason to want to look around some, although he remained a major Iowa State lean.
Plans changed Wednesday morning when Illinois added JUCO defensive end Carroll Phillips (a teammate of Jordan Harris at Co-Lin) and Cal added JUCO DE Jonathon Johnson.
Those two schools — the ones he wanted to take trips to — being eliminated, Pierson knew what he had to do.
"I called coach Rhoads and committed, just because I had an offer from Cal, I was supposed to go visit, and they got there guy today, so I don't feel the need to visit them," Pierson told AllCyclones. "I had a visit set up for Illinois and they got two guys, so I don't see a reason to visit them anymore.
"My spot is locked in. It is a relief. It feels good, good to know exactly where I'm gonna go, exactly what I'm gonna end up doing. I've been waiting on this day for a long time."