Iowa State’s 2014 recruiting class made some immediate impacts in its initial season last fall, but now in its second year on campus in Ames, the group is beginning to emerge.
There are, of course, the junior college players who are making an impact this season. Jordan Harris has learned the defense and is starting at middle linebacker; Dale Pierson has emerged in his second season with six sacks; Qujuan Floyd is a difference-maker at safety; and Wendell Taiese is in the offensive line rotation.
JUCO players are expected to impact a team immediately, so what stands out about the 2014 class in Year 2 might be the fact of how many are already impacting the program. The Cyclones are currently starting six high school athletes from the 2014 class.
Let’s take a look.
Allen Lazard | Receiver
The prized recruit in the 2014 class, Lazard emerged immediately as Iowa State’s second-leading receiver during his rookie campaign. Lazard was second on the team in both receptions (45) and receiving yardage (593) in 2014, both marks good for second all-time for an Iowa State freshman.
In his second season, Lazard has now emerged as Iowa State's No. 1 receiver and is on pace for 63 receptions, 675 yards and six touchdowns through one-third of the season.
Colin Downing | Punter
Stepping in as a freshman to replace longtime Iowa State punter Kirby Van Der Kamp, Downing averaged 39.4 yards per punt on 69 punts. He forced 29 fair catches and pinned the opponent inside the 20-yard-line 13 times.
Downing has maintained the punting job in Year 2 and four games into the season is averaging 30.9 yards per punt (on 19 punts) while already pinning opponents inside the 20-yard-line nine times.
Jauan Wesley | Receiver
Wesley appeared in eight games at receiver in his rookie campaign after Iowa State removed his redshirt due to injuries. While he never broke out in his first season, catching 10 passes for 107 yards, he did show signs of his playmaking abilities, including a 33-yard catch-and-run against Texas.
Now in Year 2, Wesley has become Iowa State’s speedy playmaker. The true sophomore has already led the Cyclones in yardage once and has surpassed his freshman totals in just four games with 10 catches for 162 yards and a touchdown.
Mike Warren | Running Back
Coaches and teammates alike raved about Warren while he played on the scout team and redshirted during Year 1, and through the first four games of his career, everybody else is now finding out why.
After a slow first two games, Warren has been given starts in the last two games and has run with the job, tallying 128 yards on the ground against Toledo and then 175 against Kansas to become the first freshman in program history to have back-to-back 100-yard rushing games. With 329 yards in four games, he’s already well on pace to break the Iowa State freshman rushing record.
Brian Peavy | Cornerback
Peavy has been a surprise on the Iowa State defense after redshirting during his first year on campus. Having already emerged into a starting cornerback, Peavy is Iowa State’s leading tackler (27) and has shown his ball-hawking abilities.
Through four games, Peavy has one interception, five pass breakups and six pass defections and one forced fumble.
Willie Harvey | Linebacker
Described by teammate Levi Peters as a prototypical linebacker, Harvey has shown off his skills in starting the first four games of the 2015 season at linebacker. In his most recent start, Harvey recorded two sacks.
Harvey is fifth on the team in tackles as a freshman and has made some wonder if he could be the next big-name linebacker for the program.
Reggan Northrup | Nickel
The lone player on this list who isn’t a starter, Northrup has seen action behind nickel Jay Jones in 2015 and has seven tackles and a sack to show for it.