One question sent out to many Cyclones signees: What does Wednesday mean to you? While we're always calling recruits to ask about top schools, 40 times and future visits, seldom do we ask them what they want to talk about. We're happy to share the five responses — of varying length and tone — below.
(AllCyclones.com edited for clarity)
"I never really thought when the recruiting process started that it would lead me to consider walking away from a childhood dream.
From phone calls at all hours of the night to endless sessions of mass emailing coaches in hopes of getting them to look at just the first plays of my highlight tape, it almost made me want to give up. I love football, and there is no more pure form of football the there is in Texas High School Football. I was lucky enough to play at a brand new 5A high school in the state of Texas with some of the best coaches in the country as my teachers. I went from thinking I was going to be a NFL All-Pro to wanting to quit the sport altogether and just play baseball in the first 20 minutes of our first summer workout before my ninth-grade year. Luckily, I stuck with it because I would eventually make the AP All-State Team, while being cut from the baseball team before ever taking an at-bat in a CFHS uniform.
I grew to love football more and more every day and I wanted to keep the ride going. I remember telling my head coach when he asked me one day after spring practice in 2011 that I wanted to play college football at the highest level. He told me I could do it and he would help me get there, but that it would require an extraordinary amount of work and focus. Nearly two years later I was taking long road trips with my dad and red-eye plane flights with my mom across the country to visit and work out for schools that wanted me as a football player. More schools said 'no thanks' than anything else, but all it did was keep me hungry.
On Feb. 2, 2013, Texas State University offered me my first full scholarship to play football. I had achieved my goal, I was going to get a FREE education just to play a game! I was overwhelmed with excitement and joy, but I knew it wasnt over. I still had my senior season to prepare for with my brothers and coaches back at Clear Falls and frankly, I wanted more. When you're a young and dumb recruit, you get lost in the number of stars you have, or whether or not you make Top 100 lists, or if you get invited to play in overblown "all-star" games sponsored by companies that just want you to blow another $500 on their new compression shirt that somehow makes you run faster. Before you know it, you start to doubt your abilities as a player. You wonder, 'Why am i not Jabril Peppers?' or 'Why don't I have the same number of offers as Kyle Troutt?' but as you visit more schools, and talk to more coaches, you begin to realize that most of it is a big show. People that call themselves scouts are simply making money off of subscriptions and readers. They show off the big stud recruits and everyone else is kind of an after-thought.
The more I learned and observed, the less I wanted to be a part of it. I began to get sick of it. I thought to myself, 'How can i be a part of the game I love if it's being ruined by attention-hungry kids that don't know any better and adults that are willing to make it all happen for them?' Football began to lose its luster for me. It became a business and not a game. Some of the greatest memories of my life happened on that high school field where the only thing that mattered was winning for your brother next to you, not trying to show off for the people watching.
I also began to think of injuries, especially concussions. I love football, but I didn't want to became a statistic, someone who can't think correctly or have a normal conversation with a loved one because I hurt myself playing a game. It all came to a head in December when I told my parents and high school coaches that i was considering hanging it all up.
People maybe thought i wanted to go play somewhere else. Nope. I was just not going to play anywhere. I was done. Quitting. Something that most people would never even consider a possibility. I mean, I'm committed to a wonderful university with some of the best facilities for learning and study in the world, not to mention the best coaching staff in America with the most genuine head coach in all of football, and I was going there for free! FREE! And i didn't want to do it. I mean, you can call me crazy, but I was really thinking about it. I prayed a lot and I thought a lot about my future and I wasn't making any progress. It also didn't help that signing day was right around the corner.
Then I opened up my pictures in my phone and started looking through my pictures from football season and it reminded me of what football really meant to me. It was my safe haven. A place where I could let out all my emotions. A place where I didn't care what anyone else though of me. The football field was my home. And now my new home will be at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, Iowa at THE Iowa State University, and I couldn't be any happier. I love football and football loves me. All Glory to God. Thank you."
— Cole Anderson, 17
"Growing up in Bakersfield, Signing Day doesn't come by for a lot of players and I'm thankful to finally say that I'm signing. Signing means a lot to me, even more than people can imagine.
In high school I was overlooked by every Division I coach that ever knew about me. I remember schools like Boise State and Fresno State came to my high school and they didn't even bother looking at me. I didn't even know they came to my high school until they left. But I'm happy they didn't bother talking me because that just made me want it that much more.
It turned my whole perspective of the game around, it made me want to prove them and anyone else who didn't believe in me wrong. Right when I graduated no one knew my name, I didn't have any offers and I didn't know if I was going to play football anymore. It was either stay in Bakersfield or go to a JC and try to make a name for myself. Once I went to Pasadena and started to make an impact, schools started to call me and talk to me and that gave me even more motivation. By my second year I had 20-plus offers from Division I programs. I went from the very bottom of the recruiting board to the top, from not ranked to one of the top JUCO DEs in the nation! And it all started with no one believing in me.
My journey has been hard, but also amazing and I thank god, my supporting family, friends, and the PCC coaches for everything they have helped me with over the two years. I couldn't have done anything without the few that helped me!"
— Dale Pierson, 20
"Signing on Wednesday means a lot to me. If I didn't mention before, I almost quit playing football after I graduated from high school and things didn't work out as planned. In 2011, I just took a few classes and didn't play.
So after a year without playing football I really missed it and chose to come back and play at Santa Monica. So now I finally get a chance to further my career and continue to play the sport I love. I also get to make my family proud. This whole experience has been a lot of hard work to get to where I'm at now. Over the past few weeks I've become impatient for Signing Day to come and now it' here. Overall I'm just thankful that my abilities were able to earn me a scholarship."
— Qujuan Floyd, 21
"Being able to sign to a college to play football has been a a dream of mine ever since I was little. Having the opportunity to sign with Iowa State will be an amazing experience!
I'll always the remember the Thursday afternoon during track practice when I got taken out of practice for a phone call. It was Coach Rhoads offering me. And it was the first time I had EVER talked to Iowa State. I knew nothing about them, but now sitting here about to sign to play college football at Iowa State, I can honestly say it is a perfect fit for me and I CAN'T WAIT! GO CYCLONES."
— Sam Seonbuchner, 18
"Being a punter I never would have thought a college scholarship would come my way and to be one of about 15 or so in the nation it is a honestly something I never could have dreamt of and a true blessing.
As a child I loved to play soccer and when it came time for junior football it was my friends that I have to credit for making me play the game of football. One of my best friends was always a better kicker growing, stronger and more powerful. But it is because or him (Turner DeMuth) why I am where I am today; he forced me to work extremely hard at something I love! Final shoutouts go to Kohls Kicking for making me the punter I am today along with my parents who have done so much for me in my life. I am so excited to arrive in Ames and drop some bombs for all you CyclONEnation fans out there!"
— Colin Downing, 18.