The bulk of Iowa State’s receiving corps will return for the 2015 season, and while the Cyclones lost their 2014 receptions leader (Jarvis West) to graduation, they return a top playmaker (Quenton Bundrage) who was lost for the 2014 season only four plays into the season-opener.
Iowa State has a talented group of receivers for quarterback Sam Richardson to throw to next season in the 6-foot-2 Bundrage, 6-foot-5 Allen Lazard and 6-foot-6 D’Vario Montgomery. Add in the likes of Dondre Daley, Jauan Wesley and Brett Medders, who all got experience last season, and that could be a stealthy group.
The biggest question facing this unit is health.
Bundrage was a limited participant during the spring while recovering from his ACL injury while Montgomery, Daley and Medders all sat out while recovering from various surgeries. Can that group get healthy and remain that way come fall? That’s the one question holding the receivers back at the conclusion of spring ball.
What was Learned
Aside from learning that Bundrage is apparently just as explosive after tearing his ACL, the biggest takeaway during 2015 spring ball is the new faces.
Darius Lee-Campbell moved from quarterback to receiver, Kenneth Lynn moved from cornerback to receiver and walk-on Trever Ryen made the switch from defensive back to receiver, as well. Ryen and Lee-Campbell both made positive impressions during the spring game while Lynn’s late switch has him catching up.
Redshirt freshman Orion Salters also participated in his first spring and showcased his speed. Salters could contribute in 2015 and compete alongside Wesley for targets out of the slot in the place of West.
While Iowa State didn’t come away from spring ball in any worse shape than it entered, there remains a lot of uncertainty regarding the health of the receiving unit.
Bundrage showed he is still explosive off the line and some wondered throughout the spring if he may even be a touch faster. He was limited contact and not full-go, but there appear to be no signs of concern regarding Bundrage, who Iowa State needs to re-emerge in 2015 out wide.
With that said, Montgomery had surgery after the spring started and was held out while Medders and Daley both missed the five weeks worth of practices. Montgomery will be a key to success for this group in 2015, but it remains to be seen what progress he has made, although he did lose 20 pounds since last season. Medders and Daley, meanwhile, could both be contributors if healthy.
To Be Determined
It remains to be seen how Iowa State will spread touches for its receivers in 2015. There figure to be 40-plus to be gained with West’s departure, and many of those could come from guys like Wesley and Salters in the slot.
Last season Iowa State connected with Lazard (45), tight end E.J. Bibbs (45) and Montgomery (44) a total of 134 times. It could be as simple as Bundrage taking Bibbs’ receptions, although Lazard should be in for a spike, too.