Iowa State's present task is wrapping up fall camp on a strong note and preparing for its opening opponent, North Dakota State. But not a day goes without the Cyclones discussing recruiting. They have 10 non-binding verbal commits in their 2015 class thus far, which figures to be the smallest one in the Paul Rhoads era come February. If the expected dominoes fall — and then if Iowa State gets a little lucky — 2015 could go down as Rhoads' best class as well.
Here are the 10 most vital targets remaining for 2015. It's worth noting there might not be room for 10 more players in the class.
The NJCAA Defensive Player of the Year as a freshman, Tucker could arrive in Ames tomorrow and secure a starting spot. He's a lightning-quick three-technique who gets to the passer (13 sacks in 2013) at a rate uncommon for a defensive tackle, at least at the JUCO level. Tucker will graduate in December with three years to play two. The Cyclones believe he's theirs for the taking, though Ole Miss has come on strong recently. Tucker would be the gem of this recruiting class.
Barely behind Tucker is Albert, another JUCO player who'd be projected to start for the Cyclones. At 6-foot-2 and with long arms, Albert represents a chance for major redemption for Iowa State, which struck out on several JUCO corners in 2013.
Antoine Albert.The combo of Nigel Tribune and Albert for the 2015 and '16 seasons would give Iowa State one of the conference's best pairs of corners.
Milan, the nation's No. 41 DT, is high on this list because the Cyclones desperately need a prep defensive tackle to sign-and-stash after passing on the position in 2014. Milan's recruitment is at this point an Illinois-Syracuse battle, but he has genuine interest in the Cyclones — it's just been difficult for him to get to campus. If Milan commits to Illinois, the perceived favorite, the Cyclones will continue to recruit him this fall, given the shaky job status of the coaching staff in Champaign.
Pick a JUCO tight end, any JUCO tight end. At the moment, French has the best chance of signing with Iowa State, as he's got an Aug. 30 official visit scheduled while Morin hasn't locked one down yet. Iowa State will take a JUCO tight end to bridge the gap from E.J. Bibbs to a pool of young talent, but that doesn't mean said player will be the likely starter *cough, Alex Leslie, cough*
Iowa State targeted a bevy of prep corners during the evaluation period — Shenault was one of them — and has watched as nearly all of those targets pledged elsewhere. Shenault is now a big priority for the Cyclones. Depth at the position is scary for Iowa State now. ISU took two corners in 2014 and every indication is the third corner, Mike Johnson, will be a 2015 class member, because it sure looks like he's gray shirting. Still, never hurts.
The Cyclones offered juuussstt after Magloire committed to Arizona. They've managed to tempt the hard-hitting strong safety nevertheless and Magloire tells AllCyclones.com he'll probably take a visit to Ames, most likely in late-November after his season ends. Iowa State's outlook at safety is bright going forward, but Magloire is a difference-maker.
Iowa State did a nice job flipping Denver Johnson from Tulsa. Now, to pull the deed on another Midlands wide receiver. Stewart's the No. 69 wideout in the nation and he's committed to Boise State. In Iowa State's corner is P-5 conference affiliation and the presence of former Nimitz teammate Martinez Syria, a close friend, on the Cyclones' roster. The only reason Stewart's not higher on the list is because the Cyclones have Johnson in fold in a year there's not a dire need for two wideouts, but he'd be a really nice "get."
Wow, Graham would be a nice way for Iowa State to kick off its recruiting in Florida. The 6-foot-4, 220-pound linebacker camped at Ames in late-July, competing despite what looked to be an ankle injury. He's got the Cyclones in his top seven, though that's a list populated by the likes of Florida and Florida State. Graham could play a multitude of positions in Ames and can move well enough to fit at middle linebacker. He's not closer to the top because at this point the odds don't favor Iowa State.
Visit plans with Leath have fallen through this summer, but it appears there's still mutual interest between Iowa State and the 6-foot-4, 290-pound tackle, who has a relationship with Wally Burnham dating back to his high school recruitment.
It's a stretch to say Iowa State has room to sign 10 more players, so let's go with a fun dark horse here, the nation's No. 11 offensive guard. Wariboko is teammates with ISU commit Denver Johnson and tweeted he'll go to Ames for Johnson's official visit, too. Such proclamations need to be taken with a grain of salt — no date's been set, it might just be to tag along with a friend, there's no way he gets away from the bevy of blue-chip schools after him, like Oklahoma (to which he's been committed) and LSU and the like — but, hey, crazier things have happened in the annals of football recruiting.