College GameDay Could Make Big Weekend Bigger

Iowa State already has a big weekend in store when it hosts Kansas on Jan. 17, but it could get bigger if ESPN College GameDay arrives in Ames

Standing in the tunnel of Hilton Coliseum, Paul Rhoads looked ahead Monday to the possibility of a big recruiting weekend getting just a bit bigger.

No matter what ESPN may announce this week in regards to where College GameDay will be hosted Jan. 17 — in Ames or elsewhere — Iowa State will utilize that weekend as it’s major out-of-season recruiting date.

“There’s usually one every year and we’re always going to focus on that Saturday with the out-of-season official visits,” Rhoads said. “We’re fortunate that we’re playing Kansas and it’s here in the month of January. We’ll have 10-plus kids here for official visits that weekend, so it’s a big weekend.”

That list is expected to include commits Bobby McMillen, Bryce Meeker, Dominic DeLira, Seth Nerness, Jordan Wallace, Julian Good-Jones, Marcel Spears, Denver Johnson and Landen Akers as well as targets Jaypee Philbert and De’Amontae Jackson among others.

So regardless what might happen — whether Iowa State simply hosts Kansas or if College GameDay arrives for its morning broadcast — the weekend will be one of the biggest in the Rhoads era. Still, there is no downplaying what GameDay hosting its show at Hilton Coliseum on that Saturday could do.

When Rhoads was an assistant at Pittsburgh, College GameDay arrived in town on the same weekend it hosted Shady McCoy (now LeSean in the NFL) among others on its big official visit weekend. McCoy ended up at Pittsburgh.

“It was big because it was pregame and our students were there,” Rhoads recalled. “We were able to utilize those students in helping us in recruiting on that day and this day will be no different.”

Iowa State brings recruits in two different ways during the year. Many come for official visits during college football Saturdays, but oftentimes that isn’t possible with JUCO players and some high school athletes during their own football season.

That’s where a basketball weekend in January, leading up to National Signing Day, comes in. The key, Rhoads said, is getting prospective recruits to see what Iowa State offers one way or another.

“Any way they get a feel for what Iowa State athletics mean to our fan base, they know how supportive it’s going to be,” Rhoads said. “Without any professional sports, it’s one of the things you sell. You’re celebrity status as a college athlete in this state as opposed to the National Football League or the NBA or whatever it may be [elsewhere].”

Nothing will showcase that more than Jan. 17, especially if GameDay arrives at Hilton Coliseum alongside an abundance of recruits.


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