It was around 10:15 a.m., inside a muggy practice bubble at the Bergstrom Football Complex, that Iowa State strength and conditioning coach Yancy McKnight gruffly barked, "Now that school's out, you're probably sleeping 'til noon. I sure hope not, you should be up working!"
McKnight meant business to the swarm of 250 or so campers of all shapes, sizes and talent levels, and the day hadn't really begun yet. They were just stretching.
Five hours later, two scholarship offers had been doled out, nationally-ranked prospects had made surprise visits and our yellow legal pad was filled with notes galore.
Said Meeker, a 6-foot-5, 295-pound offensive lineman who will play on the interior in college: "[Got to] talk to my family about it."
Nelson, too, is mulling over a decision.
The Cyclones entered the day with a handful of prospects they wanted to make a scholarship decision on and clearly felt Meeker and Nelson earned it. At 6-foot-6, 215, Nelson represents a type of defensive end Iowa State does not have on its roster: A long, lanky sideline-to-sideline presence who can cover leaps and bounds with one lunge and swallow up the read option with one outstretched arm. Nelson can swat down the intermediate pass, too.
This is all assuming Nelson adds to his frame. He needs to get stronger.
The Cyclones figure to be in the lead on both players, although the Hawkeyes bear watching. Meeker camped at Iowa City last week and did not get an offer; the prevailing thought is Iowa will not take another interior lineman in its 2015 class. Nelson's father played on Iowa's Rose Bowl team but the Hawkeyes aren't recruiting him zealously.
Which domino drops first?
"Have you seen two better QB prospects at an Iowa State camp before?"
An unofficial award, decided by yours truly. I thought Bay Port (WI) quarterback/athlete Alec Ingold was the best, um, athlete at camp Saturday. He's built well, very explosive, quick in spurts, agile, all that good stuff. Ingold measured in at a half-inch under 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds and topped out at a 4.61 40 yard-dash. His 4.25-second mark in the pro agility drill was one of the day's best.
Ingold didn't do any work at quarterback, which he was disappointed about, but didn't let it stop him from having a good day with the linebackers. For someone who hasn't done a tackling drill since his freshman year of high school, he hit well. Ingold worked as a strongside linebacker as nickelback was absent in ISU's 7-on-7 sets. He spent a lot of time with Wally Burnham.
For a few snaps, Ingold played at wide receiver. That's probably not a future spot for him but the staff wanted to see how he ran.
Ingold did not receive an offer and remains hopeful. He was seen chatting after camp with coaches Shane Burnham and Mitch Moore and told AllCyclones.com he would be calling Moore on Monday.
Four Cedar Hill (TX) players made the very long drive from the Dallas area to Ames on Friday and will return Sunday. They visited Ames unofficially Saturday, touring and such. The group was headlined by the nation's No. 2 wide receiver, DaMarkus Lodge. Darrell Miller and Richard Moore, who have ISU offers, were in attendance as was wideout Darris Harper.
Lodge has his pick of any offer in the nation and Cyclones fans shouldn't get their hopes up, but it's certainly not bad news such a high-level talent was checking out the facilities Saturday.
Perhaps the most realistic ISU target of the Cedar Hill roster, running back Aca'cedric Ware, is somewhere in the Caribbean (or Mexico, or, well, Alaska even) on a family cruise.
Battle of the QBs
The way it shook out Saturday, two top quarterbacks were left vying for the attention of the Cyclones' coaching staff. Billy Bahl and Demry Croft may each hail from Illinois, but they're polar opposites.
To wit: Bahl, at 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds, ran a 4.99 and 5.07 40-yard dash. Croft, slightly taller but much skinnier at 6-foot-4.5 and 188 pounds, ran a 4.69 and 4.62. Bahl is a pro-style quarterback with tremendous pocket presence, while Croft is more of a runner.
As one bystander said, "Have you seen two better QB prospects at an Iowa State camp before?"
AllCyclones.com spoke with both players after the camp. Croft toured the facilities with Louis Ayeni, Bahl went with Todd Sturdy. Neither received an offer and the Cyclones have a few options here. They can offer each one Monday and take whoever jumps first. They can take both of them (they're that good). They can wait until Dominic DeLira (Lake Travis, Texas) camps next weekend and evaluate from there. Sage Attwood is on the board, too.
Speaking of decisions, it's tough, but we'll give the edge to Croft for now. He doesn't have Bahl's arm and isn't as refined a quarterback but he threw very well Saturday and is plenty accurate. His upside is perhaps greater, given his running ability.
Emptying the Notebook
- South Dakota Roosevelt quarterback Taryn Christion worked with the quarterbacks before transitioning to defense, where he played cornerback and safety. Coach Mo Linguist gave Christion extra attention.
"Think I did pretty well," Christion said. "I put up good numbers and threw alright. The DB drills I struggled with a little but I think I did alright doing those drills for the first time."
Christion (6-foot-1.25, 190 pounds) ran a 4.44 40-yard dash and posted a sick 4.20 in the pro agility drill, best among the A group. He loses "Best Athlete" title to Ingold only because his frame needs some meat.
From my viewpoint, Christion has the quick feet to play defensive back and on one rep did a nice job flipping his hips and tracking the ball mid-air against a wide receiver. On the two following plays, Christion got beat. He's better playing the ball then he is playing a receiver five yards off the line of scrimmage, but that's not surprising for a first-timer.
Once thought to be the No. 2 ISU option at quarterback behind recent Ohio State commit Joey Burrow, Christion's best shot to play for the Cyclones now appears to be at another position.
"[Mark Mangino] said we will stay in contact and that they are going to evaluate the other quarterbacks that are coming to future camps," Christion said. "If I don't get chose for the scholarship at QB I could possibly at another position."
- South Dakota Brookings running back Michael Daniel hoped to run in the 4.5s on his 40-yard dash. Instead, he turned in a 4.86 and a 4.80 and was clearly frustrated with himself, telling Lou Ayeni he was tight.
Daniel caught the ball well out of the backfield. He needs to run better at another camp, with public times, and piece together fantastic senior tape for an ISU offer.
- Wide receiver Connor Ham of Solon High (IA) was sharp, running a 4.56. He is little, though, at 6-foot, 174 pounds.
- Mankato West (MN) QB Ryan Schilchte won't get an Iowa State offer but deserves a longer look elsewhere, possibly at UNI. He's a hair under 6-foot-1 and runs in the 4.8s. Good accuracy.
- Waukee tight end Michael Jacobson is a tantalizing talent at 6-foot-6.75, 216 pounds with soft hand. Doesn't run great at 4.87 and 4.91 but can really high-point the football. Could eventually pick up a Cyclones offer but needs to convinced he has a better chance at being special at football than in basketball. On the hardwood, schools such as Nebraska and Drake have offered Jacobson.
- Iowa State offer Seth Nerness was in attendance and performed in all the drills. A lingering hamstring issue kept Nerness from running the 40. Nerness is a quick-twitch pass-rusher who completely destroyed whoever he lined up against Saturday. After camp, Nerness met Paul Rhoads for a one-on-one visit. Next on the docket for Nerness is a likely camp at Oklahoma and then Missouri.
- One guy that stuck out to me was Clayton-Ridge (Guttenburg) defensive tackle Ryan Moser, who worked with the "A" group. Moser is 6-foot-4.5, 290 pounds and ran, for his size, a blistering 5.53 40-yard dash.
- Josh Corcoran, Jacobson, Jack Darnell and Deion Mikesell ran with the B group. There were like seven groups. Corcoran looked pretty good — 6-foot-3 with a 4.7 40-yard dash and popped in tackling drills.