The Fish Are Here

We're republishing a popular piece from last year's Signing Day: Iowa State's freshmen superlatives

With most of Iowa State's 2014 recruiting class checking into their dormitories today, we thought it'd be a good time to republish a piece from Signing Day.

Below are a few superlatives, accompanied by art via freelance comic John D. Massingill.

The content has not been changed since the Feb. 4 production day.

Introducing ...

It'll finally be official today, Allen Lazard, over a year since he committed. Lazard stuck to his word, increasingly rare these days, and he attracted other big-time players to Ames despite a 3-9 season.

For as good as Lazard is (No. 23 WR in the class), the importance of Iowa State signing him runs deeper than that. For the second consecutive year the Cyclones have reeled in an Army All-American from the Des Moines area, despite seasons ranging from lukewarm to very bad.

Think about it this way: Nobody in the state signed a better high school prospect. That should mean a lot to the Cyclones.

What a heist. Weeks left in the recruiting period, the Cyclones went into Oklahoma and took one of the state's best running backs (Warren averaged 9.1 yards a carry his senior season at Lawton).

It's not like Oklahoma and Oklahoma State didn't have Warren on their radar. The Sooners, after learning he was going to qualify, would have offered had five-star back Joe Mixon not committed. The Cowboys had extensive talks with Warren but never offered.

Warren will get to Ames with a chip on his shoulder, looking to prove those two wrong, and he has the raw ability to do so. Expect a learning curve as Warren learns pass protection but he — along with fellow running back commit Martinez Syria — has a high, high ceiling.

What does "That Dude" mean? Good question. We almost went "Total Badass" but maybe that would've looked weird.

One of the final commits of the 2014 class, Peavy was a low-flying player in one of Texas' toughest districts. What caught Iowa State's attention, though, was his fluid athleticism and closing speed.

The 5-foot-10 Peavy has been able to dunk since ninth grade, he started on Westfield's varsity basketball team sophomore year and is also a meet-winning long jump champion. He's got a swagger about him, according to Westfield's high school coach, and Peavy won't be scared of anybody in the Big 12.

If secondary coach Troy Douglas is again game with the inevitable speed bumps of a freshman cornerback, Peavy could be in line for playing time in 2014 (Note: Douglas left for a job at Pitt and ISU hired Maurice Linguist).

Lee-Campbell, the No. 47 quarterback in this class, will arrive in Ames over the summer as a polished read-option engineer with advanced decision-making, ball skills and field vision.

It would have been perfect for Courtney Messingham and Chris Klenakis' offense.

Those two aren't at ISU anymore, but Lee-Campbell wouldn't have stuck with his Cyclones pledge if he didn't think he could adapt to Mark Mangino's offense (which right now can combine elements of the spread, read-option and run-and-shoot offense).

There's a good right arm on Lee-Campbell, but to make it in the Big 12 he'll need to improve his accuracy substantially. If he can do that, he'll be a big problem for defensive coordinators. This should be a fun project for Mangino.

For the schools looking for a punter, Downing was no secret. Penn State offered and hometown favorite Wisconsin offered him the chance to walk on and earn his keep.

By secret weapon, we just mean nobody's going to talk about Downing this summer or during fall camp, and he's going to trot out there for the season opener and rip off a long punt, and the casual fan might just assume Kirby Van Der Kamp got a fifth year of eligibility.

Downing's a potential four-year starter at a position that has been vital to the Cyclones over the years. That's a huge boon for Paul Rhoads.

Just like Van Der Kamp, Downing is a good athlete — he played an ice hockey game the night before Signing Day — who can pull the fake every now and then. In time, the "secret" part of this label will wear off, and Downing will just be a field-flipping weapon.

Sam Seonbuchner's favorite player? Green Bay's Clay Matthews. Makes sense. Seonbuchner is an outside linebacker. He grew up in Wisconsin. He has very long, blonde hair.

Obviously, it's a major stretch to mention the two in the same breath. Obviously. However, Seonbuchner, while finding a way to fly under the radar, has some of the most impressive tape we've seen of any defender in the 2014 class. He is everywhere, he does everything — blitz off the edge, defend the pass, track down the running back's run to the strongside.

We'd predict Seonbuchner gets a redshirt year. The Cyclones have several experienced outside linebackers, anyway. But just wait. This kid could be something special.

As the Cyclones entered the home stretch in January, they were in the running for the services of three-star wideout Kenric Young and, as reported, were talking to Simmie Cobbs.

Fans wondered whether ISU already having three wide receivers in its class scared off potential commits. As Orion Salters is the lowest-rated of the pass-catchers, behind Allen Lazard and Jauan Wesley, it was natural he caught a bit of flack.

While Salters' frame doesn't lend itself to a high volume of targets, he's a shifty, explosive player who can line up in the slot or in the backfield, as well as return kicks. At the peak of his college career, Salters could be a Jarvis West prototype — the guy you feed three or four times a game when in need of a big play. That'll be Salters' role, and it's an important one. He'll just have to prove he doesn't need to be a 50-catch receiver to make his mark.

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