The Cyclones have built an impressive 2014 recruiting class with a month till signing day, but major needs remain. We take stock of who Iowa State has so far and what it needs
Exactly four weeks remain until National Signing Day and while the Cyclones have bottled some nice momentum recently, particularly among the JUCO ranks, they still have work to do on their 2014 recruiting class, No. 55 nationally.
Attention will be mostly turned to the defensive side of the ball, but Iowa State will look to reel Tommy Mister back in and maybe take a wide receiver if there's room for one. But before we get to what the Cyclones need, let's take stock of what they've got.
QB Darius Lee-Campbell: Smooth runner; engineer of advanced read-option offense in high school; very cerebral; good touch on deep ball; arm strength is good but not elite; will look to improve accuracy.
RB Martinez Syria: Complete package out of the backfield; strong runner who punishes defenders at contact; direct, upright runner who breaks quickly through the second level; good pass-catcher; doesn't have elite quickness or elusiveness.
WR Allen Lazard: Army All-American; strong hands; good straight-line speed for his size; grabs the ball at its highest point; big catch radius; facing a major upgrade in competition but has the body to adjust quickly; lateral movement is average; like most high school receivers, route-running is "incomplete," as he mostly ran flies and posts.
WR Jauan Wesley: Explodes out of his breaks; advanced route-runner; catches the ball away from his body; needs to bulk up.
WR Orion Salters: Sharp route-runner; great agility; threat for yards-after-catch; can be power-to-speed change-of-pace runner; straight-line speed not great; needs to bulk up.
TE Scott Schaffner: Huge catch radius; breaks tackles at the second level; soft hands; needs to polish footwork on route-running; a flanker in high school system, will need to learn nuances of run-blocking and pass protection.
OT Kory Kodanko: Tremendous size; wears weight well; long arms; working on footwork and burst off line.
OG Will Windham: Good base; locates defenders well while pulling; powerful at point of impact; plays lighter than he is at 325 pounds but as an interior lineman in spread/power-running offense shouldn't add more weight.
OG Wendell Taiese: Impressive mobility for someone his size; elite footwork in power-pulling schemes; needs to improve pass-protection fundamentals; JUCO experience has him ready to contribute immediately.
C Cole Anderson: Tackle in high school but moving to center in college; ideal body for interior lineman; will look to get stronger.
DE Dale Pierson: Elite pass-rusher at JUCO ranks; explosive power moves; equipped to contribute immediately; average range and wingspan.
DE Gabe Luna: Strong, powerful legs; holds up blockers at point of impact; advanced hand mechanics; great motor; slightly undersized at 6-foot-2.
LB Sam Seonbuchner: Weakside linebacker with impressive frame and mobility; very good in coverage; flashed play-making abilities in high school; needs redshirt year to adjust to Big 12 downfield blockers.
LB Jordan Harris; Prolific JUCO tackler; flies to the football; hard-hitter; small at 6-foot; unproven in coverage.
CB DeMonte Ruth: Fluid hips; changes direction well; two-way player in high school with ball skills to turn defense over; needs to get stronger.
CB Dedric Brinson: Uncertain commitment status; rangy, lanky defender.
CB Brian Peavy: Smooth defender with play-making abilities; experience against good competition and high confidence will help him to play early; breaks quickly on ball; needs to improve press-coverage mechanics.
S: Devron Moore: Tremendous in zone coverage; profiles as a free safety; strong in run defense; ready to contribute as early JuCO enrollee.
S: Qujuan Floyd: Good tackler who could play either strong or free safety; elite closing speed; can return punts and kicks.
S Reggan Northrup: Very physical; future could be at strongside linebacker.
S Vic Holmes: Projects as a free safety; two-way player with very good ball skills; not shy about contact.
P Colin Downing: Considered one of the best in his class; powerful leg; plus control; needs to improve hang-time.
So, what are the Cyclones missing? It should be pretty evident. They need a defensive tackle (cough, David Moala) in the worst way, and they probably need two of them. Interior linemen are routinely the trickiest in terms of the high school to college transition — many of them show up out of shape and with sloppy fundamentals — so most schools look to grab one or two each year to better the odds.
Iowa State, by the looks of its offers, is also in the hunt for a JUCO cornerback. The Cyclones have missed recently on Danzel McDaniel and Keishawn Richardson.
A high school defensive end is, we assume, also a high priority.
Oh, and a running back. The Cyclones will try their hardest to get Tommy Mister back. Adding Louis Ayeni as running backs coach helps offset Indiana's chief advantage with Mister, Deland McCullough, as Ayeni recruited Mister when he was coaching at Toledo.
If Mister doesn't happen, the Cyclones will probably try to add a running back.
This is such an imperfect science, but let's give it a shot. The Cyclones can count three guys back to the 2013 recruiting class, giving them a soft cap number at 28.
Currently, the Cyclones have 22 committed players in the 2014 class (including Brinson), so if they add the needs we outlined above — two DTs, one CB, one DE and one RB — they'll be at 27.
That'd leave Iowa State with a spot for a "luxury" pick, somebody like Kenric Young or J.T. Gray.
RB Tommy Mister
CB Corry O'Meally (if the grades work out)
DE Isadore Outing
Keep an eye on
DT David Moala
DL Terry Ayeni
DE Spencer Williams
LB Greg Gooch
ATH J.T. Gray
LB Xavier Preston
WR Kenric Young
DT Greg Gaines