Who's the Best? Ranking Cyclone No. 22

Hidden in a 3-9 season was plenty of quality-to-elite talent. It's one man's list, but we've set off to rank Iowa State's best players, counting down from No. 50 all the way to No. 1. In this installment we rank player No. 22

The debate's getting serious.

AllCyclones.com listed's Iowa State's best 50 players for 2014 earlier, Nos. 50-26 — using production, potential, positional value and a little bit of by-the-gut reasoning.

Now we get to the nitty-gritty, beginning our one-by-one countdown of No. 25 to No. 1, a task that'll run through Spring Football.

The envelope, please ...

No. 22: Allen Lazard, Wide Receiver, FR

A four-star wideout in the 2014 class, Lazard might be the most important player Paul Rhoads has ever signed. But now the discussion shifts from holding off Notre Dame and Iowa for Lazard. Instead, it's time to wonder: How good can Lazard be as a freshman?

The Cyclones redshirt most of their freshmen but it's hard to see them doing that with Lazard because a) he can help the offense immediately b) he'll put fans in the seats at Jack Trice and c) if he stars as a freshman, Lazard might serve as a Pied Piper for other skilled high schoolers who in the past might have balked at coming to Iowa State.

In other words, Lazard can make Iowa State cool.He can also make the team better, given his ball skills and leaping ability. Lazard's bound to get targets in the redzone, of course, but it'll be interesting to see how uses him over the rest of the field.

Tall, high-jumping, adequately-fast receivers like Lazard usually make for better outside guys, where they can win one-on-one battles against smaller cornerbacks in man coverage, but Mark Mangino might give Lazard a look flexed in the slot, where he can match up against nickelbacks and outside linebackers and, along with E.J. Bibbs, give the Cyclones a big frame between the hashes.

I've maintain concerns about Lazard's lateral quickness and the upgrade in competition, but there's no reason he can't be one of ISU's five best wideouts the moment he moves into the dorms.

  • Lazard's Best Case Scenario: Becomes a major player in the wide receiver rotation. The quarterback situation is still unstable and there are plenty of other guys who'll get targets, so don't expect huge stats as a freshman. Something along the lines of Quenton Bundrage's freshman year — say, 20 receptions for 300 yards and a couple touchdowns — would do.

  • Lazard's Worst Case Scenario: It's clear in practice Lazard will need time to adjust to Big 12-quality cornerbacks and the coaching staff decides a redshirt is best, the Cyclones having plenty of veteran wideouts already.

  • Reason for the Ranking: Maybe I'll look silly if Lazard plays a middling role while No. 23 Jake Campos ends up starting at tackle, but for now I'm convinced he'll get playing time and help upgrade the passing game. Lazard as a freshman won't be one of the featured players there (that'll be Bundrage, Bibbs and possibly D'Vario Montgomery) but he'll spread the field and help out in the redzone.


    It is with caution that I dip my toe into what will likely be choppy waters. Ranking Iowa State's 50 best players is an arduous task. With a number that allows for the two-deep (22 on each side) plus a few, any omission might be construed as an insult. That's not at all what I set out to do here. I wanted to locate and then rank the most valuable Cyclones for the 2014 football season. Read that again. For the 2014 football season. Not from last season. Or for 2017. How'd I do this? I looked at production, sure, and of course I looked at short-term potential — can this player contribute in 2014, and at what level?

    Phone calls were made, brains were picked, contributions considered. I tried to think like an NFL executive: Quarterback, offensive tackle, defensive end, cornerback are by many accounts the most important positions in football, but I didn't always obey that rule, not unless the talent stacked up. I went back to my notes for the first and second watches of all the 2013 games, but those were last season's schemes, at least on offense, and I project the change to Mark Mangino's scheme will shake things up.

  • 50: Brian Peavy

  • 49: Jevohn Miller

  • 48: Pierre Aka

  • 47: Joel Lanning

  • 46: Kamari Syrie

  • 45: Colin Downing

  • 44: Kamari Cotton-Moya

  • 43: Michael Warren

  • 42: Kenneth Lynn

  • 41: Justin Madison

  • 40: Duaron Williams

  • 39: Tad Ecby

  • 38: Tyler Brown

  • 37: Mitchell Meyers

  • 36: Gabe Luna

  • 35: Cole Netten

  • 34: Rob Standard

  • 33: Dondre Daley

  • 32: Wendell Taiese

  • 31: Jared Brackens

  • 30: T.J. Mutcherson

  • 29: Oni Omoile

  • 28: Trent Taylor

  • 27: Sam E. Richardson

  • 26: Devlyn Cousin

  • 25: Terry Ayeni

  • 24: Qujuan Floyd

  • 23: Jake Campos

  • 22: Allen Lazard

  • AllCyclones Top Stories