Even when Miramar (Fla.) offensive lineman Keenan Forbes was locked into his commitment with Tulane, he often heard from then-Toledo coach Matt Campbell and offensive line coach Tom Manning.
The two made it clear they valued the athletic lineman.
Saturday, that relationship paid dividends as the 6-foot-3, 282-pound Forbes made public his commitment to Iowa State, choosing the Cyclones over his other finalist, Temple, some six weeks after his official visit in early December.
“Coach Manning thinks I’m a monster,” Forbes said after he became Iowa State’s latest offensive line addition. “He likes me a lot. He’s been recruiting me since he was at Toledo, both of them have. They were on top of me even when I was committed to Tulane and never gave up. That’s something I liked about them.”
What Iowa State likes about Forbes, who also held offers from the likes of Tulane, UCF, Cincinnati, Colorado State and Toledo, is his position versatility. Forbes has played left tackle the last two seasons at Everglades High School, but will shift to guard at Iowa State.
“I’m going to be playing guard and probably a couple of times tackle whenever they need an athletic [guy],” Forbes said. “I’m very athletic, so on different things, probably like a screen play, they’ll probably put me in. That’s just helping me out because someday I’d like to play in the NFL, so if they put me at guard I can’t complain. I’m just preparing the best.”
Toledo offered Forbes in April, quickly identifying him as a key offensive line target, and that thought didn’t change upon the staff’s shift to Iowa State. The Cyclones offered the first week and Forbes visited that weekend from Dec. 4-6.
Iowa State continued to show its interest in recent weeks, stopping in on two occasions since the end of the dead period, most recently when Campbell and Manning were in Florida on Tuesday for an in-home visit.
Forbes committed to Iowa State two days later on Thursday before making his decision public Saturday afternoon.
“The reason why is because I feel like Coach Campbell is going to turn the program around,” Forbes said of his decision. “They haven’t had a good season in a couple of years and I think Coach Campbell is going to change that.”
Iowa State has made an effort to bolster its offensive line with the 2016 class, adding three high schools prospects in Sean Foster, Josh Mueller and now Forbes. The Cyclones have also added JUCOs Oge Udeogu and Karson Green and graduate transfer Tyler Catalina.
Saturday, the Cyclones added another piece to that puzzle.
“I’m happy to be a Cyclone,” Forbes said. “This is something they wanted. When I even came to Ames they wanted me to commit.”