Jalen Starks may be playing high school football in California, but the idea of a colder football season and snow excites the Encino (Calif.) Crespi fullback.
Starks, a 6-foot-1, 240-pound back, is ranked as the top fullback in California in the 2016 class, and Iowa State’s recruitment of him as a bigger running back culminated with an offer from the Cyclones on Friday, marking his first Power 5 offer.
“Before the offer I kind of talked to the coaches a little bit,” Starks said. “When they offered me I started actually talking to the coaches a lot more. I think I’m going to start to call them a lot more often and really learn more about the school.”
One thing Starks already knows is that the idea of playing in the Midwest is intriguing. The big back spent some time previously in Chicago, so while he isn’t yet familiar with everything Iowa State offers in Ames, his general knowledge of this part of the country excites him.
Iowa State, which has recruited Starks with Todd Sturdy, has talked to him about a potential visit next month. He’s uncertain if he’ll make it to Ames for a camp as hoped for, but plans to make an effort to visit nonetheless.
“I talked to them about a potential visit sometime in June,” Starks said. “I’m not that familiar with Iowa State but just the fact that I’m from Chicago [I like] how it’s cold out there and I kind of like snow, so I definitely like that factor about Iowa State.”
Starks also holds offers from UNLV, Idaho, Montana State, San Jose State, Utah State and Robert Morris. He said San Diego State, Texas A&M, Miami, Arizona State, Oregon, Oregon State, UCLA and USC have all been showing recent interest.
The bruiser also plays linebacker on defense and is open to also playing defense at the collegiate level, although he hasn’t had any conversations about those plans. He runs a 4.61 40-yard dash despite his size and is working to be more elusive.
“In general, I would describe myself as an athlete. I can play offense or defense,” Starks said. “As a back, I have good speed. I have good hands. I can block and catch. I find myself as a pretty good back. The thing I’m really focusing on this year is my cut ability and being more explosive and really being able to see the field.”
Starks has no timeline for his recruitment, but does know what he’s looking for.
“I’m really looking at the education, whether I like the school or not and whether or not I fit into their system,” Starks said. “Then I’m really seeing how I communicate with the coaches and whether I like them or not. I’ve actually liked mainly all the coaches I’ve spoken to and I really like all the schools I’ve been talking to.”