As 2015 Signing Day draws within hours, recruits around the country are preparing to sign their names to paper and fire up the fax machines to make their commitments official. Iowa State will have handfuls of commits who will sign Wednesday morning, but the Cyclones also have four players who have already been signed, sealed and delivered to Ames.
At the mid-year signing period on Dec. 17, Iowa State announced the signing of three JUCO players, including defensive tackle Demond Tucker, interior offensive lineman Patrick Scoggins and defensive back Jomal Wiltz. Three weeks after that date, Iowa State added one more mid-year signee when nickel Jarnor "Jay" Jones visited and then signed.
All four mid-year signees arrived in Ames in January to begin coursework. They will all take part in spring ball and are expected to make contributions immediately next fall. Let's take a look at each of the mid-year signees who are already officially members of the 2015 class.
DEMOND TUCKER | DT | Copiah-Lincoln C.C.
THE STORY: Tucker is a big 6-foot-1, 285-pound defensive tackle who Iowa State hopes can plug the middle from the onset next season. The highly-touted lineman visited campus in late November, where he was hosted by former Co-Lin teammate and Iowa State linebacker Jordan Harris. Two weeks later, Tucker committed. Tucker held offers from Mississippi State, Mississippi, Texas A&M, Arizona State and Kansas State among others and ultimately chose Iowa State over Kansas State.
WHAT HE SAID: “Coach Rhoads told me I’m a great player and they really need a guy like me to come in and play. I loved the school, I loved the coaches and I could see myself there.”
WHAT Paul Rhoads SAID: "He’s explosive. He’s not tall. He’s big. He’s still sub-300 pounds, but he has good girth that way. He’s very explosive, he uses that explosiveness and quickness to get off blocks to get to the ball, and in this league you can’t have defenders that are stuck on blocks."
PATRICK SCOGGINS | OL | Long Beach C.C.
THE STORY: While some told Scoggins he was too small to play at the next level, Iowa State saw potential in the 6-foot-3, 305-pound offensive lineman and ultimately won his services ahead of Southern Mississippi, Texas San-Antonio and Toledo. Albeit shorter, Scoggins doesn't lack size with his 305-pound build and he will be an interior lineman for the Cyclones. Scoggins could potentially factor into the center position battle as offensive coaches put the idea in the big man's head during the recruiting process.
WHAT HE SAID: "Words can’t express the way I feel that this school is giving me an opportunity to play in one of the biggest conferences in the nation regardless of my height. Some schools say I’m too short and whatnot, but I don’t feel that’s a reason for me to not be playing this game anymore. I’m just really excited and really ready to prove everyone wrong and prove that I can play. For Coach Rhoads to believe in me is really important to me and I don’t want to let anyone down.”
WHAT RHOADS SAID: "He doesn’t have great height, but he’s not small. He’s a 300 pounder and he’ll roll you up. He’s definitely an inside player. Guard for sure and potentially a center. Another area we’ve got to sort it out. With the addition of Patrick you’ve got about four guys that could be centers and/or guards, so we’ll have to figure that out."
JOMAL WILTZ | DB | Trinity Valley C.C.
THE STORY: The 5-foot-10, 170-pound defensive back narrowed his options to Iowa State and California before committing to the Cyclones shortly before the mid-year signing period. In Wiltz, Iowa State signed a speedy, versatile player who could eventually do many things for the Cyclones. First and foremost, Wiltz will be a defensive back for Iowa State and has the ability to play safety, cornerback and nickel. He is also expected to play an immediate role in the return game next season.
WHAT HE SAID: “I felt the vibe and they showed me a lot of attention and love. [Coach Rhoads] coming to meet my parents and everything, that played a big part in it also. Being able to play in the Big 12 and on national TV, to play against some of the best opponents [is great].”
WHAT RHOADS SAID: "Speed, first and foremost. The cat can run. Versatility. He can play anywhere in the secondary. He can cover, he’s a corner. He’s played safety and he has the intelligence as well as the physical ability to play safety. We think we can play him at the nickel spot as well. What we’ve got with Jomal is, let’s put him in the best place to help our football program and he was very accepting of that. I think he appreciates his own abilities to do that. He’s a very dangerous return-man, also.
JARNOR JONES | DB | Georgia Military
THE STORY: Originally a member of N.C. State's 2012 class, Jones (known as Jay) transferred to Georgia Military after two seasons, one of which was a redshirt. He waited until the second week of January to visit Iowa State after he picked up an offer on Dec. 24 — one week after the mid-year signing period — and committed on that visit while also drawing interest from Illinois, Indiana, Utah and Georgia State. Jones is 6-foot-3, 210-pounder who is expected to play nickel for the Cyclones.
WHAT HE SAID: "“I will be playing nickelback. That’s what they presented to me. As far as the initial playing time, it was always about coming here and working hard. It wasn’t granted to me, but they told me the position is open. It’s my position to lose, because they just graduated two senior nickels from the previous year.”
WHAT RHOADS SAID: "To get an athlete of his caliber in a bounce-back role is a nice pickup for our secondary. He’s tall with long arms, which means there is a lot of space that receivers have to get around to get in the clear. There is also a lot of length that he has to make plays with, whether that be tackles or rerouting receivers."