Publisher's Letter: Memories From 2014 Class

Dale Pierson's brother told me Dale was about to call Paul Rhoads and commit. This I was not ready for, as Dale had told me the other day he would wait a few weeks. I pulled off I-35 and made my office near a cornfield for 30 minutes

By the time you're reading this, I'm either stuck in a snowstorm somewhere near Urbandale — or Ames, depending on the time — passed out at Starbucks or wandering around Central Iowa in a stupor, mumbling things like "Jeff Jones is NOT going to Iowa State," "Gooch," and "Hi, again, this is Trey Scott, I'm a reporter for Scout.com — if you could please call me back, I've already tried you 13 times this month … just looking for an update on your recruitment…"

In truth, this buildup toward Signing Day has been a lot of fun. The whole year has been. I accepted a job with Scout in late August, watched from a couch in Denver as Iowa State lost to Northern Iowa, then moved to Ankeny on Sept. 7.

When I took over as publisher of newly-named AllCyclones, there were something like 30 subscribers. As of now, there are 274 of you. So, we're growing. I've quickly learned that recruiting updates sell, but I enjoy just as much covering the football and basketball teams — I try to make every press conference — and will continue to attack both beats with zeal. Freelancer Carmon Wilson drops in a women's hoops or recruiting update when he can, and we just do the best we can.

My first Welcome to Recruiting, Kid, moment was sometime in September, when I saw somebody named Brian Burnett on Twitter saying he had committed to Iowa State. Looked at his school — Raines High in Florida. Knew the Cyclones were there the night before. Took him at his word, excited to get the first scoop on commitment No. 15 for ISU …

… Nope. Ugh. I had carefully phrased the article as "Burnett said Iowa State offered," "Burnett said he committed to Iowa State," but, still, it was relatively humiliating. I was upset with myself for a week.

Since then, we've had plenty of recruiting scoops, but I've been much more cautious with how quickly I am to report something. Good lesson there. Learned it four years ago in my first college journalism class, but sometimes you have to re-learn things in the "real world," I guess.

Allow me to continue this letter of thanks then I'll drop in some funny stories. As you might be able to tell, I'm fiercely competitive with this stuff, crestfallen when I get beat on something right in my wheelhouse and l-i-v-i-d when hard work is piggy-backed by others without a drop of attribution. You probably know what I'm talking about, and I've never really addressed this since a tweet a few months ago, but I felt I had to stick up for myself and also for you, since you're spending hard-earned money to get your information at AllCyclones.com. It just bums me out when that happens, but it's not at all unusual anymore.

I look forward to tackling the 2015 recruiting class, kicking things off Thursday with a Cyclones Scoop — first one in a while, and we won't stop 'em until I take a vacation in late May — and am also working on a recruiting board for the upcoming class, hoping to get updated Iowa State logos to serve as the interface.

Now, all the random memories and thoughts I have from the 2014 recruiting class (from when I started in September) that I can think of at 1:05 a.m. Wednesday.

  • Devron Moore was pulled over on his way home to Joplin, Missouri, during Thanksgiving break while he was on the phone with me.

    Devron: "Hold on, there's a cop behind me. I'll call you back."

    Me: "Uhh, OK, you don't have to."

    Five minutes later …

    Devron: "Hey, we're all good — just gave me a warning for swerving. So about my official visit?"

  • I started sleeping with my phone on my pillow, and twice I was butt-dialed late at night. The incidental perpetrators: Corry O'Meally and Isadore Outing.

    If you recall the recruiting stories of each, there was certainly a time when a commit seemed inevitable. So for each I jumped out of bed, running to my office, as static noise serenaded me.

  • Once a recruit, on an official visit, accidentally texted me "Ld" at 1:19 a.m. Was this code?

  • Several times I caught a recruit when his plane was waiting to taxi out of Des Moines, Wendell Taiese hardly audible over the plane's furious humming. But at least they picked up.

  • Allen Lazard was very polite, good to work with, but at this stage in the recruiting process has had his fill of recruiting reporters (can't blame him). I couldn't get in touch with Lazard following his Notre Dame official visit nor his ISU official, so I went to see him in person.

    The first time, in October, I arrived at halftime of an Urbandale game, a prior obligation hanging me up. The score was something like 52-0, Lazard was on the bench the rest of the game and the clock, mercifully, was running. Lazard was great, though, talking to me in the cold on the middle of the field while the rest of his teammates ran inside.

    I just wanted quotes from Lazard on his Ames official and the culmination of his recruitment the second time, so I went to Urbandale's basketball game at Ankeny. I almost witnessed what could have been a bad injury, Lazard high-stepping six raised bleachers behind the baseline to chase a loose ball. He ended up on his butt, wincing a bit.

  • I didn't have one bad experience with any of Iowa State's commits. We all had good working relationships.

  • The first recruiting story I ever did was on Tommy Mister in September, titled: "Is Tommy Mister Wavering?" People were asking about him wanting to take other visits, so I found his number on Twitter and called him up. He was really cool throughout the whole recruiting process.

  • When Indiana's Rivals reported Tommy decommited, on Dec. 27, I was on my way to go see Saving Mr. Banks with my family. After unsuccessful attempts to reach him, Tommy called me back and gave me some really good, insightful quotes. All I had was a pen and a limp sheet of paper in the back of my Dad's car, though, and I hardly got any of it down and chicken-scratched my way through a few of his phrases. Typed the story up on my phone then walked into the movie theater.

  • This job doesn't stop. I was at my fiancé's office Christmas party when Darius Lee-Campbell committed. I was ready, having two stories ready to roll whenever, but I still had to re-format them on my phone to reflect the date and such, then publish the changes and tweet it out.

    All the while, my date had been selected to participate in the office jeopardy game in the middle of dinner. She won $100, the office newb helped by co-workers screaming out the answers, while I did my best to keep my eyes on center stage while my fingers typed furiously. Come on, Darius! Saturday night?

  • I was driving to Ames for Iowa State's media availability for its mid-year JUCO enrollees when Dale Pierson's DM'd me Dale was about to call Paul Rhoads and commit. This I was not ready for, as Dale had told me the other day he would decide in January after the dead period. I pulled off some road and made my office near a cornfield for 30 minutes.

  • Dejon Brown's recruitment is one that had me going in circles.

  • Terrell Clinkscales was super accommodating for interviews but his recruitment was a pain because he retweeted EVERYBODY who shot him a message. That was a timeline-clogger.

  • Toughest recruit to get a hold of? J.T. Gray. His former teammate at Clarksdale, Jordan Harris, was the complete opposite. Saw that a lot with JUCO recruits. They've been overlooked two years, watching as high school teammates received all the media attention, and they want to get good information out there.

  • Cole Anderson acts a lot older than 17 years old (referring to the email he pinned in "In Their Own Words" on the front page of the site. I appreciate his honesty.

  • Trevon Young's mid-week official visit to Ames would have gone unreported if not for a few player tweets.

  • Two-star commits aren't the end of the world, y'all.

  • Orion Salters on his visit: "I had been to Ohio, but I had never been to Iowa."

    Thank you for your business and I look forward to doing this recruiting circus again, real soon. Like right now.

    2015 LB Offered by Iowa State


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