In recent weeks and months, Calmar (IA) athlete Carson Lensing had a steady amount of letters and mail from Iowa State, but overall didn’t consider himself to be heavily recruited by the school his family is well tied to.
One camp has changed that opinion.
Lensing, who plays both tight end and defensive end at South Winneshiek, stopped in Ames on Saturday for Iowa State’s first camp. There, coaches had the 6-foot-4, 225-pounder play outside linebacker and came away impressed. Two nights later, Paul Rhoads was offering Lensing a scholarship to play for the Cyclones.
“I was brought by Todd Sturdy to meet Coach Rhoads right from the start [of camp]. I kind of knew then it was going to be a good day kind of, knowing the head coach wanted to see me,” Lensing said of the camp. “I played outside linebacker, but they said it would be like a hybrid outside linebacker/D-end. Coach Sturdy said my stock went from an average player to being looked at really good by them.”
Lensing had a second meeting — this one with his parents — in Rhoads’ office following the camp, where the Iowa State coach complimented his play at outside linebacker while referencing his lateral quickness.
“It was incredible just knowing I was one of the top kids there. I was a little surprised. I wasn’t expecting it,” Lensing said. “He said he knew I don’t ever play outside linebacker but he said that I did really good there. He said he considered me an offer guy and that meant a lot coming from Iowa State and him especially.”
The 20-minute conversation left Lensing, who has two sisters currently at Iowa State and whose mother graduated from the school, hopeful. When Sturdy called him Monday night, the conversation eventually led to Rhoads offering him.
The Cyclones aren’t yet sure where Lensing would play at Iowa State, but consider him a defender. After playing outside linebacker Saturday at camp, Lensing could fit there or at defensive end.
“[Coach Rhoads] said I have the chance to be the first guy to sign to the 2016 class and he said he liked his first guys,” Lensing said of the call. “They said they were going to maybe change up their defense a little bit and they wanted a longer defender on the outside for linebacker and a guy who could go stand up and three-point and they said I fit that description.”
Lensing now holds three offers, with the other two coming from South Dakota and South Dakota State. He is scheduled to attend North Dakota State’s camp this weekend with other camp stops scheduled in June for both Northern Iowa and South Dakota State.
Iowa State is already trying to get Lensing back to town, inviting him to its Golden Ticket Day on Saturday. The event is being held for a small group of prospects with offers, and Lensing appears likely to cancel his NDSU camp stop to attend.
“I don’t really know a timeline [for a decision] yet, it’s all just kind of coming really quick,” Lensing said. “I’ve got a lot of thinking to do. Iowa State is number one on my list pretty easily. We’ll see how it all goes, I’ll talk with my parents and stuff.”
Lensing said if he were to commit to Iowa State in the near future, he would almost certainly cancel all of his camp stops.
Could he be commit No. 1 soon?
“It’s a big choice, so I just want to take my time with it and make sure I get it right,” Lensing said. “I know Iowa State is a great school and a great choice right now, I just want to make sure I know what I’m doing. It could happen before [Saturday], it could happen after. I have no idea right now.”