It was easy to see the Cyclones would fill their 2014 recruiting class with many JUCO players after a 3-9 season and with the graduation of key figures, guys like Jeremiah George, Jacques Washington, Deon Broomfield and Willie Scott.
Four JUCOs are officially on board as of Wednesday's early signing period. Head coach Paul Rhoads held a media availability to welcome safety Devron Moore, defensive end Gabe Luna, linebacker Jordan Harris and offensive guard Wendell Taiese.
AllCyclones.com has extensively broken down each commitment and you'll find archived stories next to those players' names. However, this is the first time Rhoads has been permitted to speak on the record about the four of them.
Devron Moore, S, NE Oklahoma A&M
Moore's recruitment capsule: Click Here
Gabe Luna, DE, Butler (KS)
Key Rhoads quote: "His motor. He reminds me a lot of Cory Morrissey. Very disciplined, plays from snap through the whistle."
Luna's recruitment capsule: Click Here
Jordan Harris, MLB, Copiah-Lincoln (MS)
Key Rhoads quote: "We've got a source there that helped tip us off to him. Thought he was being overlooked and we got a chance to do a thorough evaluation on him and believed that to be the case, that he was being overlooked. Not only is he a gifted player but he's got all the attributes I look for in a linebacker. Somebody who studies the game, spends extra time doing that, loves to play — and Jordan loves to play — his personality really fits in with our program as well as myself, first to arrive last to leave."
Harris' recruitment capsule: Click Here
Wendell Taiese, OG, Laney (CA)
Commitment date: Dec. 16. Chose Iowa State over Kansas, Fresno State, Cincinnati and Texas State.
Key Stat: Had 13 pancake blocks in one game.
Key Rhoads quote: "You try to get as many ... spots filled up then you're always looking for the best player. And he was 357 pounds of best player available."
Taiese's recruitment capsule: Click Here
There's no doubt the 34-0 win over Kansas on Senior Night did some serious good. Of the seven official visitors in Ames that weekend, three signed today (Moore, Harris, Luna). Two more are JUCO commits who'll sign in February (Qujuan Floyd and Dale Pierson, who committed Wednesday).
"There was a ton about that weekend," Rhoads said when I asked him about the crop of officials from Nov. 22-24. "How many places in the country are riding a seven-game losing streak and had as many passionate fans in the stands as we did on that night who cheered through historic low temperatures to cheer us on to a 34-zip shutout victory? There was a lot that happened that night that made those three guys realize this is a special place, Iowa State."
If you're interested in some of those candidates, check our our recruiting board, for premium subscribers: Click here
With that, the Cyclones have moved up to No. 48 in the recruiting rankings, No. 7 in the conference and a few points behind TCU and West Virginia.
To compare, back in October, Iowa State was in the mid-70s. The Cyclones now have 11 three-star recruits and one four-star, Urbandale (IA) wide receiver Allen Lazard.
Click here for those rankings (free).