Since his mid-December commitment to Iowa State, Rhode Island graduate transfer Tyler Catalina has been inundated with new interest and offers.
The 6-foot-6, 298-pound tackle, who will graduate from Rhode Island in May and arrive on campus in the summer, chose Iowa State over Boston College and signed a financial aid agreement on Dec. 17.
In the five weeks since, Arizona, Missouri, Oregon and Florida have all extended offers while Auburn has shown interest.
“It was surprising,” Catalina said. “Coming out of high school I never really went through this process this heavily. To be honest, I’ve never been this wanted and it was kind of new to me, so it was kind of stressful.”
The biggest question for Iowa State fans: Where do things stand?
“I’m just trying to enjoy the process as it comes,” Catalina said. “I’m still a Cyclone right now but these other schools are coming in and they’re offering and doing all that stuff but I’m still pretty committed to the Cyclones. I’m just enjoying the process.”
Catalina will visit Florida during the coming weekend from Jan. 29-31 and tentatively plans to visit Auburn sometime in February. There is no clear timeline for when he’ll know if his Iowa State commitment is solid.
After starting 33 games at tackle in three seasons at Rhode Island following his redshirt year, Catalina has been expected to start immediately as a fifth-year senior for the Cyclones on a bolstered offensive line in 2016.
The message from Iowa State has been consistent, most recently from offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Tom Manning and assistant head coach Louis Ayeni when the two stopped in to see Catalina last Friday.
“It’s practically the same thing that they’ve told me since Day 1, that I’m going to be a key part coming in,” Catalina said. “They enjoyed coming to visit and they got to come watch me work out and they liked what they saw and it’s pretty much the same thing as they said: be a leader and contribute as a senior in a big way.”
Iowa State is banking on the veteran additions of Catalina and JUCO offensive linemen Oge Udeogu and Karson Green to help bolster the line on a team that returns most of its talent from 2015 and has bowl aspirations in 2016.
For now, the wait to secure the final piece continues.
“I don’t really have a deadline, there’s nothing set in my mind. It’s just wherever I feel comfortable, wherever I see as the best fit, that’s where I plan on being,” Catalina said. “I guess I never really know until I see it. I’m just going to have to do my research and see what’s out there and see if it is actually a best fit for me.”