Cyclones Scoop: The Commit Lowdown

Iowa State has 12 commits in its 2016 class who are currently wading through the recruiting situation after the Cyclones fired coach Paul Rhoads. Here's the latest on where things stand with each member of the class.

The first member of Iowa State's class (on June 20), South Winneshiek (IA) athlete Carson Lensing, said he remains committed to Iowa State, "until further notice." Lensing preferred not to comment further without knowing more about Iowa State's situation, but is thought to be keeping his options open and is talking to as many as a handful of schools.

The only other known offers for Lensing are South Dakota and South Dakota State. 

All signs point to tight end Dennis Wonnum out of Georgia still being committed to Iowa State, though he certainly has options moving forward. Wonnum holds offers from California, Cincinnati, Colorado State, Memphis, South Florida and others. Wonnum hasn't immediately commented on where things stand following Iowa State's announcement.

A mid-year JUCO commit in the class, Kamal Hardy's current situation is dicey. Hardy is not only set to sign Dec. 16, but his decision appears as if it will ultimately come down to whether or not secondary coach Maurice Linguist is retained.

What will it take to stay? "Really for Coach Mo to stay. If they bring in a whole new coaching staff that’s not familiar with me at all and bring in another guy, I’m behind," Hardy said. "I’d see what they have to say, but that would be a short relationship that I’d have with them. I’ve kind of opened up my options right now, I’ve kind of opened back up. That doesn’t mean I’m decommitting. I’m waiting, seeing what’s going on this week."

Purdue has quickly offered Hardy after the firing of Rhoads and he has long been courted by Indiana. Hardy had closed his recruitment but is now open to hearing from schools and will likely take visits after Thanksgiving. He remains committed while he sees how Iowa State proceeds in hiring its next coach.

Linebacker Jake Hansen was hearing, just prior to committing to Iowa State, from Utah and Wake Forest, though neither ever offered. He remains committed for now, though hasn't yet commented on how he is proceeding following the move.

Hansen holds known offers from Air Force, Army, Charleston Southern, Florida Atlantic and Florida International. He has been on campus and his ultimate decision could come down to Iowa State's direction in its coaching hire.

New Mexico offensive lineman Grant Hermanns holds a number of Power 5 offers from the likes of Kansas, Texas Tech and Washington State, but has not yet commented on where his commitment to Iowa State stands following the move.

Iowa State liked the speed and size that defensive tackle Jamahl Johnson showed during his senior season, but Johnson only holds offers from South Dakota and Iowa State and is thus going through uncertain times with some worries.

"My initial reaction was, am I still going to have my scholarship?" Johnson said. "I was scared whether I was still going to have my scholarship or not."

Most new coaching hires honor scholarship offers to commits, but to be safe Johnson plans to visit South Dakota (whose coach retired Sunday) in January. Johnson remains committed to Iowa State and all signs point to him wanting to end up in Ames if he's wanted.

"After he got fired I thought it’d be better for me to take an official to South Dakota just in case so I have a good [idea] of everything I want to do," Johnson said. "I’m still committed, but after the coach is gone I figured I should take an official to see what they’re doing."

Georgia safety Kendrec Grady has a number of Power 5 offers from the likes of Boston College, Illinois, Syracuse and Louisville, but says he remains committed to Iowa State. With that said, Grady said he will listen to schools who show interest while he waits.

It appears that Grady remains very much open to staying on board.

"I’m sad for coach, he really showed me he wanted me to play for him, so I guess I’ll have to see how the new coach feels," Grady said of his decision. "I just want to play where I’m wanted and needed."

Lawrence White has been keeping his options open as a Plan B, and while he'd prefer to keep his pledge to Iowa State, he is now proceeding with previously planned visits to four schools in January: Washington State, Fresno State, New Mexico and Eastern Washington.

"After I figured that out, what happened to Coach Rhoads, the first thing in my mind was, ‘What am I going to do now?’" White said. "I’m still firm on my commitment. I’m in the playoffs right now for my school, so I’m going to go ahead and try to focus on that and I told myself after this is all done then I’ll focus on the college situation."

In terms of his commitment, the recruiting process will now likely play out into January, though White is hoping to hear from Iowa State's new hire in the near future.

"I just want to know if the new coach is even interested in me," White said. "He didn’t recruit me, Coach Rhoads did, so I just want to know if he’s interested in me and is still wanting me to come to his school. I need to talk to a new coach and stuff like that."

Prior to his commitment to Iowa State in early October, Texas cornerback Arnold Azunna appeared interested in taking several more visits. He ended up halting those plans and shut down his recruitment. Azunna said he remains committed to Iowa State but isn't yet sure if he'll listen to other schools if they come calling. 

Azunna has offers from Illinois, Colorado State, Air Force, Fresno State and Nevada.

JUCO tight end Clifford Fernandez is very much committed to Iowa State, but facing worries over whether or not his offer will hold with a new coach, his coaches are currently putting feelers out to have a contingency plan.

"As far as I know, I’m still committed. I’m worried with a new coach coming in with a new staff what happens to the people that committed and the players who were thinking of coming," Fernandez said. "I still want to be a Cyclone. One of my coaches had told me that most coaches will respect the other coach’s commitments to players but he said he’d still work on it just in case."

JUCO offensive lineman Derrick Achayo remains committed to Iowa State and prefers to keep it that way, though he is also facing uncertainty as he is set to sign in three weeks and also doesn't know if his offer will stand with a new coach. Achayo has an offer from Boise State and both Southern Miss and Cincinnati are showing interest and could offer.

Achayo was set to visit Iowa State from Dec. 4-6, but is uncertain if that trip will still happen. He has never visited Iowa State and needs to do that before signing, so he's currently in a waiting period. He will visit Boise State around Dec. 12.

" I just have to see the new coaches. I also have to see the campus Dec. 4. That’s in two weeks. I’d like to see where I’ll be walking in to before [signing]," Achayo said. "It kind of sucks right now. I’m trying to see if that [visit] is happening."

Iowa State's most recent commit, Florida offensive lineman Michael Smith Jr., hasn't commented since his commitment Thursday and it remains unclear where things stand. Smith has had an odd recruitment after decommitting in recent weeks from Georgia Southern. He also has an offer from Memphis and others.


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