When Iowa State made its coaching change just more than one week ago, Southwest Mississippi C.C. tight end Cliff Fernandez faced uncertainty.
The 6-foot-5, 257-pound tight end, who committed to Iowa State on Nov. 1 following his official visit, hoped to remain part of Iowa State’s class but had his JUCO coaches prepare options just incase.
A phone call from new coach Matt Campbell and tight ends coach Alex Golesh on Tuesday night has quelled those worries. Fernandez will be a Cyclone.
“Coach Matt Campbell called and we had a good conversation,” Fernandez said. “He was talking about what he plans to do there and he was actually recruiting me when he was at Toledo and he was interested. So we just talked about that and about how it’s funny we both decided Iowa State and I’m still committed to them. He said he’d love for me to still come and still be committed.”
Fernandez will get a visit at his school from Golesh on Friday and both Campbell and Golesh will visit with him and his family sometime next week. The raw tight end prospect will sign with the Cyclones on Dec. 16.
Fernandez arrived at Southwest Mississippi C.C. as a quarterback, but quickly transitioned to tight end. He played in the final three or so games of the 2014 season and appeared in eight games at tight end this past season, catching 20 passes for 188 yards. Lining up at tight end, in the slot and as an H-back, Fernandez’s skillset is still evolving, but the staff likes his potential.
“He likes my size and how athletic I was,” Fernandez said. “Pretty much he said I have upside because I’ve only been doing this a year and a half at tight end.”
The January arrival, Fernandez hopes, will help that development.
“I think it’s going to help me a lot because I’ll be able to get used to the Big 12 and the type of workout plan we have and the offseason training they go through so that way when we get into the spring game I’ll be involved in all of that and I’ll get to learn the system a lot earlier than people who come in August,” Fernandez said. “When I come back in the fall for fall camp I’ll know the system and I’ll know how we’re going to do things workout-wise.”
After a hectic week-and-a-half, he also has his future home locked in.
“I feel really great,” Fernandez said. “Everything happens for a reason, God takes people and moves everything around for a reason. I think the chips might play better maybe and this may be a good thing because Coach Campbell also likes using the tight end the way the previous coach talked about using me.”