"This was the first time to hear from Iowa State," Ayeni told AllCyclones.com on Sunday. "I was surprised. It's a well-known school and whatnot, so I was surprised I was on their radar."
The 6-foot-4, 250-pound Ayeni has seen his stock rise in December after a season in which he recorded seven sacks and 14 tackles for loss. West Virginia offered earlier in the month and other schools have begun to enter the picture.
Ayeni has late-January visits set up to West Virginia and Northern Illinois. He hopes to get to Ames for an official to learn more about the Cyclones. With limited time between the end of the recruiting dead period (Jan. 15) and National Signing Day (Feb. 5), a trip would likely be planned soon.
"Yes," Ayeni said when asked if he has interest in taking an Iowa State official. "I don't know much about them but I've watched them a couple times on TV. They don't put a lot of d-linemen in the league but they do put guys in the NFL."
Strangely enough, it's word of advice from a Hawkeye that could persuade Ayeni to get to Ames.
"I have a buddy that plays for Iowa (Tevaun Smith) and he took a visit to Iowa State and liked it a lot," Ayeni said. "I've talked to the ISU coaches, they're excited and they told me what they're all about and how they're trying to build a program."
Ayeni sees himself as a defensive end — "that's my forte," he said — but has the frame to grow into a defensive tackle.
"I could also play three-technique but I had a pretty good season playing end, and I think I can play the run as well as pass rush," Ayeni said.
Ayeni was offered by Iowa State graduate assistant Michael Conrad. He has three years to play two seasons.