Lemont (IL) three-star wide receiver Flynn Nagel delivered a Friday night surprise with his announcement that he'd committed to Duke, a school which just recently entered Nagel's radar. He visited the other weekend and picked up an offer days ago.
While it's Illinois that's left reeling, as the Illini was considered the easy favorite, the Cyclones were also in great position to land Nagel, the nation's No. 43 wide receiver.
A few thoughts ...
- Iowa State signed three wide receivers in 2014, including two in Jauan Wesley and Orion Salters who profile as slot types, so receiver's not a huge priority in this upcoming class. Nevertheless, Nagel's a refined player who'd be a "take" regardless of need. His route-running and hands give Nagel the chance to contribute early in his college career, perhaps as soon as his freshman season.
- That said, where does ISU go from here? As mentioned, pass-catcher isn't a huge point of emphasis. Nine 2015 wide receivers report Iowa State offers in the Scout.com database. Three have already committed elsewhere, Four are major longshots (Ryan Davis and Christian Philpott, each from Florida, Cam Green of Illinois and Emanuel Hall of Tennessee) and another, Tony Brown of Lake Mirada, is not someone I've heard of.
That really leaves Brandon Snell, a JUCO player at Garden City (Kansas) who's a soft Utah commit.
Of players who haven't yet been offered, Leon Thornton of Montini Catholic in Illinois is a candidate, though Thornton tweeted today he'd be making his college decision next week. Another JUCO player, Dominique Reed, is an option, but ISU is likely more interested in prep wide receivers rather than JUCO types as the position is stacked forthe foreseeable future, especially if Quenton Bundrage stays in school for the 2015 season.
It's most likely that, if the Cyclones decide to take a receiver in this class — early indications are every position but specialist will be accounted for — they'll take their time and offer Texas and Florida players, for whom evaluations are not yet finished.
- To the naive eye, the loss of Nagel is yet another failure for Iowa State in the Midwest for 2015 — the Cyclones are now 1-for-8 in terms of players they've offered who've already made decisions, not including players like Cam Green, Drayton Carlberg and Kraig Howe, who are extreme Cyclones longshots. Yes, ISU does face an uphill battle for Midwest players, who grew up worshiping Big Ten football, but this is more of a case of Nagel prioritizing his academics and pledging to a world-class institution. Illinois lost out, too.
The Cyclones have offers out to Iowa players Seth Nerness and Julian Good-Jones and are in pole position for both. There'll be prospects from Minnesota, Illinois and Wisconsin in Ames this weekend for camp. It's not the end of the world, but it appears for another year Iowa State will do most of its damage in Florida, Texas and among the JUCO ranks.
If you look at last year's key contributors, guys like Quenton Bundrage, Jeremiah George (Florida) E.J. Bibbs and Aaron Wimberly (JUCO), you can surmise it's not the worst plan in the world.