Spring Preview: New Faces

Iowa State begins spring practice less than one week from now and will do so with a number of new faces. As AllCyclones.com continues to preview the spring season, we dive into who those new players are

AMES, IOWA -- Although the look will be brief for media and fans, there will be a look this spring at five new faces on the Iowa State roster when spring practice begins next week at the Bergstrom Football Complex.

Iowa State brings in four mid-year transfers in time for spring practice as well as one grayshirt from the 2014 class. Here’s a look at the new faces in camp:

Demond Tucker | Defensive Tackle

Tucker is the new face most Iowa State fans can’t wait to see in action. The former JUCO Defensive Player of the Year was a highly-touted recruit who now carries with him high expectations. At 6-foot-1 and 285 pounds, the hope is that Tucker will plug the middle of the defensive line from the onset of next season.

Early on in spring practice, eyes will likely be on Tucker to see how he transitions from JUCO to Big 12 football. Should he fulfill the expectations set for him, Tucker should be starting come next September.

“He’s very explosive,” coach Paul Rhoads said. “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.”

Jomal Wiltz | Cornerback/Returner

If Wiltz is everything Rhoads says he is, it may be hard to see him. Rhoads has said that Wiltz may have already vaulted himself to the top of the list when it comes to the fastest players on Iowa State’s roster. That will play big in the return game, which is where Wiltz might ultimately make the biggest impact.

The defensive back, however, is also versatile. Wiltz can play safety, cornerback and even at nickel if needed. Iowa State will put Wiltz at cornerback to begin with this spring and see how things play out.

“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,” Rhoads said. “I think he appreciates his own abilities to do that.”

Mike Johnson | Safety

Johnson will be entering his first spring at Iowa State in a different situation than the other four players in this group. After staying in Florida last fall, Johnson has arrived in Ames as a member of the 2014 class who grayshirted last season. Johnson is a talented defensive back, who Iowa State expects will be in the two-deep at safety from the onset of spring practice next week. Rhoads has told the freshman that Iowa State views his grayshirt as a redshirt, and if all goes according to plan this spring, he won't wait to play next season.

Johnson, who was 5-foot-11 and 170 pounds as a high school senior, once held offers from Arizona, Cincinnati, Indiana, Purdue, Rutgers, USF, Syracuse, UCF and Western Kentucky before choosing Iowa State.

Jarnor Jones | Nickel

Jones was a late arrival as a mid-year transfer, waiting until the second semester was one week in before he arrived, but there will be no delay with Jones making a contribution this spring. The expectation is for Jones to assume the starting nickelback role when spring practice begins.

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. Jones is a 6-foot-3, 210-pounder and drew interest from Illinois, Indiana, Utah and Georgia State this time around before choosing Iowa State.

Patrick Scoggins | Offensive Line

At 6-foot-3 and 305 pounds, Scoggins is shorter for his position, but should work fine on the interior of Iowa State’s offensive line. When the Cyclones were recruiting Scoggins they talked to him about the possibility of playing center with Tom Farniok gone. Scoggins figures to get a look at center with a number of other candidates, but should get playing time at guard if another player emerges to take that job.

“"He doesn’t have great height, but he’s not small,” Rhoads said. “He’s a 300 pounder and he’ll roll you up. He’s definitely an inside player.”


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