"He's not going to a school in northern Indiana; boy, they wasted a lot of time and money. He's not going to another school in this state, who feverishly called him about a half-dozen times in the past week."
There was no drama on Signing Day for Iowa State and there were no surprises. The Cyclones officially announced 25 members of their 2014 recruiting class Wednesday, including three JUCO transfers who enrolled at midseason, which Scout.com had ranked as high as No. 50 earlier in the day (it's currently 52nd nationally).
For the second consecutive year, the Cyclones signed an Army All-American from Iowa. Head coach Paul Rhoads was so fired up about four-star wide receiver Allen Lazard sticking with his commitment of 14 months that his indirect shots at Notre Dame and Iowa might make national headlines.
"He's not going to a school in northern Indiana; boy, they wasted a lot of time and money," Rhoads said. "He's not going to another school in this state, who feverishly called him about a half-dozen times in the past week."
Lazard visited Notre Dame in October. Rhoads added Lazard wouldn't have to speak to the media his freshman season after "what he's been through the last 14 months," referring to reporters to "wasted a lot of space and time challenging his word of commitment."
Despite finishing the 2013 season with a 3-9 record, the Cyclones were able to pick up a solid recruiting class thanks in part to new facilities, dogged road efforts, two huge visiting weekends (Nov. 22-24 and Jan. 24-26) and a ton of program stability, Rhoads having signed a 10-year contract in December of 2011.
With seven JUCO transfers, there's hope for immediate impact. For the freshmen who take redshirts, they'll be expected to contribute in two or three seasons.
"Let's see three or four years from now how well they are playing," Rhoads said. "Whether they have three bananas or golden apples by their names or not, I don't know what they are going to become. I think it is a doggone good class, I don't think we have had a bad class in six years, and I think the trend from 2014 and beyond is going to reflect that."
Rhoads Reviews the Recruits
Using a combination of quotes from the media conference and the excellent Cyclones.tv interview with John Walters, below are specific thoughts Rhoads has on each recruit. If it's not in quotation marks, it's us paraphrasing Rhoads.
WR Allen Lazard: "Great maturity … Everybody questioned him, wanted answers from him. … He has every opportunity to come in August and play his way onto the field."
QB Darius Lee-Campbell: Multi-threat QB; good arm velocity; breakaway speed; wants to play in the Big 12; Cyclones wouldn't have taken a quarterback if Lee-Campbell had committed elsewhere.
RB Martinez Syria: Big, strong, powerful running back; good vision; one-cut style; finishes runs. Highlight tape runs and runs and runs and Syria still never seems to be tackled; credits staff for identifying and evaluating Syria.
RB Michael Warren: Cyclones were looking for a running back after Tommy Mister's recommitment and addition of Louis Ayeni swung ISU into contention with Warren; slashing runner; no wasted movements; comes from military background; ISU will continue to recruit out of Oklahoma.
WR Jauan Wesley: Big Ten, SEC offers; looks up to Quenton Bundrage; very fast; hopefully a sign of things to come as Iowa State wants to recruit Chicago harder going forward.
WR Orion Salters: Slot receiver; great speed; mid-10s in the 100-meter dash; dangerous as a receiver and rusher; can play out of the backfield.
TE Scotty Schaffner: Athletic, Alex Leslie-type; played flexed-out in high school; earned a scholarship offer after performance at ISU's camp; a workout freak; will work on speed and agility.
OL Wendell Taiese: Signed him even though location (West Coast) was a hurdle; soft, quick, exceptional feet; maybe potential to play with more weight than Kelechi Osemele.
OL Cole Anderson: Needs to add size but staff not concerned about that because Anderson will be a center; good athleticism; strong leader.
OL Kory Kodanko: Great family; tackle or guard; huge "human being"; Cyclones want to take guys who've developed weight and help them mold it down rather than take kids who still need to add weight.
OL Will Windham: Tough, nasty, blue-collar; broad-bodied; no-nonsense.
DE Dale Pierson; Versatile edge-rusher; expected to contribute in fall.
DE Gabe Luna; In the mold of Cory Morrissey in that he's not flashy or going to grab the headlines but will work harder than most and is sound in edge-contain.
DL Terry Ayeni; Expected to contribute immediately; late on ISU's radar, December offer; plugs a variety of holes.
LB Jordan Harris: "Know's the filling out of you"; first to arrive, last to leave; cerebral; prolific tackler; eager to pick up on schemes.
LB Sam Seonbuchner: Can play WILL or SAM line backer; loved his highlight tape; strong commit who shut down recruitment early on; will probably use redshirt season.
LB Reggan Northrup: A hybrid linebacker/safety take — i.e., a nickel back; Cyclones are recruiting 12 positions on defense (normal 11 plus the nickel); Northrup can do a lot on the field.
LB Willie Harvey: The final commit of this signed class; under-recruited because Mendendez (FL) is somewhat out-of-the-way and not a destination stop for college coaches making the Sunshine Swing; very fast; future LB position not yet determined.
CB Brian Peavy: Steal out of Houston; noticeable play-making skills.
CB De'Monte Ruth: Very, very fast; played QB in high school as well.
CB Mike Johnson: One of the better defensive backs in Florida; no concerns about his size after initial evaluation left Wally Burnham and Troy Douglas thinking he wasn't big enough; will probably play cornerback.
S Devron Moore: Already on campus; has good ball skills but combines those with sound effort in run-protection.
S Qujuan Floyd: Cyclones wanted to take two safeties as it was a position of need (Moore and Floyd committed on the same day); athletic playmaker who can return kicks.
S Vic Holmes: Could play safety or cornerback, the staff will get him on campus in the summertime and work from there; excited about his versatility.
P Colin Downing: Definitely expects Downing to be starting punter this fall; athletic enough to run fakes, too.