Since the beginning of the recruiting process following his junior season, Albuquerque (NM) defensive end Teton Saltes has been in close contact with Iowa State, building quite possibly his closest relationship.
That connection led the 6-foot-5, 230-pound prospect to Iowa State for his first official visit during Homecoming weekend, and the stop allowed Saltes to put that longstanding relationship to the test with face-to-face conversations.
“It was great meeting all the coaches and the players and the fans,” Saltes said. “I definitely enjoyed the game when they beat Texas. The fans are crazy over there. This is actually my second football game I’ve ever been to, so it was great to come over here. Great atmosphere and [I] watched some good football.
Saltes is regarded as one of the top prospects out of New Mexico in the 2016 class along with current Iowa State commit, offensive lineman Grant Hermanns. The defensive end is raw, but highly-regarded with offers from the likes of Oregon, California, Illinois, Iowa, New Mexico, New Mexico State, Texas Tech, Tennessee, Washington and Washington State in addition to Iowa State.
Iowa State was one of the first schools in on Saltes following his junior season and defensive ends coach Stan Eggen has been in New Mexico multiple times since then, most recently during the team’s bye week to evaluate.
Leading in to his visit, Saltes said Iowa State was a school he felt a close relationship with, and one of the few in which he has gotten to know the head coach. His visit allowed him to continue to build on those relationships.
“One thing I really liked is [Coach Eggen] kept it 100 percent with me,” Saltes said. “He didn’t promise me anything that he couldn’t guarantee and he was telling me I’m going to have to work to get to where I need to be, but he believes that he can turn me into a really great player that can do some things over here in this conference and maybe even further depending how much work I put in.
“Me being so raw and not really playing a lot my whole life, he can turn me into a really great player really quickly and I’d be an elite pass-rusher, which is what he wants me to be. I had really good talks with Coach Eggen and he believes, and I believe as well, that he can turn me into a really good player.”
Iowa State likes Saltes’ raw talent and his ability to develop into a pass-rusher off the edge in its 3-4 defensive scheme.
Saltes isn’t in a hurry to make a decision as his stop in Ames marked his first of what he expects will be five official visits.
“Right now what I plan in doing is finishing up my season this week and then going on some more visits, maybe [to] Baylor or Oregon or some others schools,” Saltes said. “I don’t plan on actually committing to a school until January or February, around there."
For now, his first impression of Iowa State matched his previous expectations.
“I definitely enjoyed it a lot,” Saltes said. I could look them in the eyes and see and sense how genuine they are and how honest they are and how good of people they are. I could see face-to-face, so it was great being able to speak with them. I was actually at Coach Rhoads’ house today, this morning, eating breakfast with his family. Not a lot of head coaches do that. It was great being able to see them in-person. That brought our relationship a step closer.”