The annual meet and greet with media brings positivity and enthusiasm for the coming season regardless of expectations, and that was no different for Iowa State. Coming off two seasons that totaled five wins, the Cyclones hope a change in culture can push the team forward in 2015.
Among all the chatter in Dallas, there was also some housekeeping to be done. Rhoads discussed a variety of notes with local media Tuesday morning.
Leath Will Arrive in Early August
Five of the six JUCO players who Iowa State signed in the 2015 class have arrived on campus and have been participating in summer workouts for nearly six weeks. By early August, all will be in Ames.
Defensive tackle Bobby Leath has finished his final class at Coffeyville C.C., coach Paul Rhoads said Tuesday and will arrive in early August. A source tells AllCyclones.com that Leath is expected in town August 3.
The setback to finish classes could push Leath's progression back, but Iowa State is excited about the potential for the 290-pound tackle to bolster the defensive line.
"I believe out of all of [the JUCOs], that Bobby has the chance to contribute the least on paper following rules of experience just because he’s in so late and he’s making that transition and he’s going from junior college player to four-year player and he’ll be behind knowledge-wise and conditioning-wise," Rhoads said Tuesday in Dallas. "You’re looking, especially for a guy who arrives in the fall, about a half of a year before you really start to feel the impact."
Iowa State Appears Healthy
By all accounts, Iowa State will enter fall camp healthy, which is a good sign for a team that battled its way through the 2014 season with a barrage of injuries.
Linebacker Luke Knott, who enters fall camp No. 2 at the weakside linebacker spot, had a positive summer in regard to his hips, which have bothered him in recent seasons and caused him to undergo surgery. To this point, hip issues late last season have been managed without any invasive surgery in the spring or summer.
"Luke has had a good summer," Rhoads said. "No setbacks, nothing that’s holding him back, he’s excited about how he feels and where he’s at and we’re excited to get him into August. We’ll have to, in my opinion, monitor him as we go through camp. There’s nothing like training camp that compares to any other time of the season, so even if a young man has gone 10 weeks straight without any problems, training camp can cause a little hitch, so we’ll keep an eye on him as well as some others."
Medical Redshirt TBA for Bundrage
In the end, the hope is that Quenton Bundrage won't be looking to spend another year in Ames beyond 2015.
After Bundrage missed the 2014 season following a torn ACL on the season's fourth play, he is gearing up for his senior season in 2015, a year in which the Cyclones hope he can return to old form and become a top playmaker for the offense.
Just in case something goes awry, Iowa State will think beyond 2015 and consider a medical redshirt for Bundrage in 2016.
"The NCAA process is one where we can’t do anything with it until we’re done with his eligibility," Rhoads said. "There’s a pretty hard and steadfast rule that if we choose to redshirt a player, there’s nothing injury-wise associated with it, then if the second one is an injury then you have no case. Our case will be it happened on the fourth play of the season when the times comes."
The hope, however, is that Bundrage will perform at a level in 2015 sufficient enough to push him into the NFL. The long receiver caught nine touchdown passes in 2013 and enters the coming season nearing the 1,000 yard mark for his Iowa State career.
"I think a good bit of it will be determined by how well he plays," Rhoads said of whether the Cyclones will apply for a medical hardship. "If he has a year like he’s capable of and has a chance to further his career at another level, I don’t think we’ll even seek it. I’d like to have that problem and deal with that in December."