Iowa State locked in its priority offensive target Thursday night through the screams of fans at Hilton Coliseum.
That’s when Frisco (TX) running back Kene Nwangwu dialed in to Iowa State running backs coach Louis Ayeni and ended his recruitment. The 6-foot, speedy back had seen and heard everything he needed and ultimately committed to the Cyclones over offers from Iowa, Indiana, Northwestern and Kansas.
“It’s extremely exciting to know that they really value me and they want to use me in their program as soon as maybe my freshman year,” Nwangwu said late Monday. “It’s relieving and I’m just grateful and blessed that I can go somewhere that I like and that I’m wanted.”
Iowa State targeted Nwangwu this past fall and he visited Ames on an official visit for the season finale. When Paul Rhoads was fired the next week, the interest didn’t wane as his recruiter, Ayeni, remained in town.
Nwangwu talked with new coach Matt Campbell on the phone shortly after the coaching change and was visited by Ayeni in Texas later that week.
“[Coach Campbell] told me that Coach Lou showed him my film and he wanted me really badly,” Nwangwu said. “I just felt that I was wanted there.”
“He really likes the fact that I have speed and I have a great frame to put on more weight. He said he’ll definitely use me as a kick returner and to get in reps at running back too.”
Nwangwu, who is interested in potentially running track at Iowa State, has been timed with a 4.40 40-yard dash. He averaged 7.6 yards per carry during his senior season at Heritage High School and adds another young runner to a backfield that already boasted freshmen Mike Warren and Joshua Thomas during the 2015 season.
That, too, excites Iowa State’s newest addition.
“It’s really an honor to play with Mike because I watched him and he’s amazing,” Nwangwu said. “Coach actually said that I could be a huge impact to the team because I have speed that none of the running backs have.”
So even while he had considered taking one more visit to compare to Iowa State, Nwangwu determined Thursday, as the dead period approaches, that he knows enough. While Iowa State stormed back to defeat in-state rival Iowa at Hilton, Nwangwu dialed Ayeni to give Iowa State a bit more good news.
“I called Coach Lou and he was extremely excited,” Nwangwu said. “He told Coach Campbell and I talked to Coach Campbell and they were both really excited. He told me that he announced it at the game [to the staff].”