Hey, ISU defensive tackles coach Shane Burnham, your thoughts on your unit, as of April 10?
"We've got who we've got. There's no free agency."
Well, technically, but this — Thursday's announcement that Brandon Jensen is rejoining the team after a "change of heart" — sure feels like it. If Jensen had missed an entire season, rather than an offseason, and picked up a clean $2.5 million, he'd be Andy Pettitte.
"We are extremely pleased to have Brandon back with us next year," head coach Paul Rhoads said in a statement. "He gives an immediate upgrade at a position we are very thin at. He also brings tremendous leadership to his position group and our entire football team."
Jensen, a 12-game starter, 18-tackle guy at nose guard for the Cyclones in 2013, may be signing up for a smaller role. Redshirt sophomore Devlyn Cousin proved himself a worthy starter at nose in the spring. ISU will be wary of potentially stunting Cousin's growth in another season as a reserve.
There's no question this is the best offseason news the Cyclones have received or manufactured since officially signing their 2014 class, though. Attrition had swept through the defense. Jensen and fellow nose guard Austin Krick quit. Charlie Rogers transferred. Rodney Coe and David Irving were given the boot.
Free agent, belated addition to the 2014 recruiting class — however you want to consider Jensen's return, it's a major coup. The Cyclones go from Cousin and and zilch to Cousin and Jensen. The defensive interior still needs help, but that's a three-tech problem now. Nose guard looks set.
"Brandon is a hard worker and Big 12-tested," Rhoads said. "We are looking forward to him being a leader for us in 2014."