The Cyclones open preseason practice on Monday, Aug. 4. To get you ready for the season, AllCyclones.com will be gauging the depth at every position on the roster. In this installment, we turn our attention to the "F" receiver, or slot.
Projected Starter: Jarvis West, Sr., St. Petersburg (FL)
Projected Backup: Damein Lawry, So., Dallas (TX)
Other Players: Brett Medders, Jr., Village Oaks (CA); Jake Rhoads, rFr., Ames; Orion Salters, Fr., Dallas (TX)
The Leader: Jarvis West
The 5-foot-7, 177-pound West is the best of both worlds, as far as slot receivers go. He's an extremely reliable target and makes defenders miss after the catch. Health is a concern for West, who missed four games in 2013, and for whatever reason the Iowa State offense didn't do a good enough job making West a priority, as he caught just 15 balls for 105 yards. In his senior year, West should hit and possibly exceed his 2012 stats (31 catches, 290 yards, three scores) while contributing in the return game.
The Wildcard: Brett Medders
The former walk-on was the surprise of the spring game, catching six passes for 48 yards and earning the praise of head coach Paul Rhoads. Offensive coordinator Mark Mangino has suggested it wasn't flash in the pan and to expect the 6-foot-2 Medders to contribute this season. Medders isn't a fit as an outside receiver because he's not going to beat anybody deep, but his size makes him an attractive option out of the slot and over the middle.
The Future: Damein Lawry
A highly-rated recruit in 2012, Lawry arrived in Ames as a offensive back and has since made the switch to receiver. He's raw there, but Lawry is one of the fastest players on the team. He doesn't have to carry a huge burden in 2014, with West and E.J. Bibbs taking care of middle-of-the-field targets, but Lawry has a chance to be a two-year starter at slot receiver if he improves this season.
The Cyclones signed Orion Salters out of Dallas' Jesuit Prep in 2014. Salters is small at 5-foot-9, 165 pounds and won't ever be a workhorse target, but he can do some nice things both out of the slot and out of the backfield. Think of him as a "scat receiver." Salters needs a year and maybe more to add weight to his frame, but he'll contribute.