Iowa State's 2016 Class In Review: Looking at the Offense

Iowa State has put together a 2016 class that includes 29 prospects, 15 of which are on the offensive side of the ball. Let's take a look at who the Cyclones are adding to the program on offense.

Postion: TE | School: SW Mississippi C.C.

Note: Fernandez was a mid-year signee and is already enrolled. 

Before Matt Campbell and Co. ever arrived at Iowa State, JUCO tight end Cliff Fernandez was already committed to the previous staff. The Cyclones held onto the 6-foot-5, 260-pound Fernandez due to the Toledo connection and held off Illinois late. Fernandez is a versatile tight end and Iowa State has shared a vision to use him that way. He’ll see time at tight end, but could be split out wide and be used as an H-back in the backfield.


Postion: OG | School: City College of San Francisco

Note: Udeogu was originally a mid-year signee, but will now be a summer arrival.

In Oge Udeogu, Iowa State adds the No. 79 overall JUCO prospect in the 2016 class and a guard who could step in and start immediately in 2016 after Iowa State has lost six scholarship linemen from 2015 (four graduation, two attrition). Udeogu held offers from the likes of Houston, Louisville, Georgia Tech, San Diego State among others before committing to Iowa State in mid-December. Udeogu was supposed to be a mid-year signee, but an issue with a class has postponed his arrival until summer and Louisville, Illinois and Colorado State attempted to flip him before Signing Day to no avail.


Postion: RB | City: Frisco, Texas

Note: Nwangwu is a speedster who could be a walk-on for the Iowa State track team.

Iowa State identified 6-foot running back Kene Nwangwu as a priority target early in the process and running backs coach Lou Ayeni ultimately closed on him in December. Nwangwu is a speedster (4.40 40-yard dash) who also possesses some skill as a blocker out of high school and presents breakaway speed. Ayeni, in conversations with Nwangwu, has compared him to current Iowa State back Mike Warren with more speed. It's still undetermined if he might play as a true freshman in 2016.


Postion: OL | School: NEO A&M College (Okla.)

Note: Green is a versatile linemen who can play tackle, guard and center.

The best descriptor for offensive lineman Karson Green is "nasty." The 6-foot-5, 280-pound lineman out of NEO A&M College is a tough, physical lineman who the staff identified early and got to campus in January as a mid-year signee. While Green is labeled as a guard, he played center in high school and has experience at guard, tackle and center at the JUCO level in Oklahoma. There is thought that Green will compete to be Iowa State's starting center come spring and into the fall. 


Postion: OT | City: Mequon, Wisconsin

Note: Mueller is a raw offensive lineman with a big frame who Iowa State hopes to develop.

Up until his senior season at Homestead High School in Wisconsin, Josh Mueller had been a defensive lineman throughout high school. Mueller made the switch to offensive tackle for his senior season when colleges began projecting him there during the recruiting process. With a big, 6-foot-6 frame, Iowa State likes Mueller's potential to develop into a Big 12 tackle and ultimately beat the likes of Illinois, Northern Illinois, New Mexico, Hawaii, Wyoming and others for his services. With development under Tom Manning in the years ahead, Mueller could be a future contributor on Iowa State's line.


Postion: QB | City: Watkinsville, Georgia

Note: Noland received late interest from Alabama and is a mid-year signee.

In Iowa State's quest to land a high school quarterback in the 2016 class, the staff quickly landed on Georgia prep Zeb Noland. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound pro style quarterback, who is ranked as the No. 45 overall quarterback in 2016, had been committed to Appalachian State where he was a legacy. Yet in the days following the mid-year signing day, after Alabama showed some interest, Noland flipped to the Cyclones and arrived in January. In Noland, Iowa State adds a Top-50 quarterback who was at the top of its list and one who has a strong arm and the ability to develop into a multi-year starter down the road.


Postion: TE | City: Prairie Grove, Arkansas

Note: Soehner is a big-bodied tight end who has the versatility to flex out wide.

Iowa State set out to land multiple tight ends in the 2016 class and in doing so targeted big, versatile prospects. One of those targets was 6-foot-7, 260-pound tight end Dylan Soehner out of Arkansas, who also plays basketball and provides versatility on the field. Given his size, some project Soehner at tackle, but Iowa State likes him as a tight end and covets his ability to play out of the backfield and flex out wide if needed. In the end, Soehner picked the Cyclones over two other finalists, Illinois and Purdue. 


Postion: WR | City: Harper Woods, Michigan

Note: Martin is a long receiver who originally committed to Toledo in October.

One of the first offers the Iowa State staff put out when it arrived in Ames was to Toledo commit Jalen Martin. The 6-foot-3 receiver was set to sign with Toledo and had a close relationship with Matt Campbell, receivers coach Bryan Gasser and others. Ultimately, those relationships and the chance to play in the Big 12 landed him with Iowa State. Martin is a lengthy receiver who can play on the outside and stretch the field. Ranked as the No. 20 receiver in the Midwest and the No. 8 receiver in Michigan, Martin picked up a late offer from Syracuse but decided to hold strong with the Cyclones. There is a chance Martin could play as a true freshman.


Postion: LS | City: Chicago, Illinois

Note: Wirtel's brother will be a senior long snapper at Kansas in 2016.

In recent seasons, Iowa State hasn't had a scholarship long snapper, mostly because Paul Rhoads' son, Jake, held the position. With Jake Rhoads and Tanner Tusha both gone, Iowa State identified long snapper Steven Wirtel as a viable option to step in quickly. Wirtel is regarded as one of the top long snappers in the 2016 class and is ranked by Kohl's Kicking as the No. 6 overall long snapper. With various options from the likes of Georgia, Auburn, Illinois, Kansas and Wisconsin, Wirtel ultimately settled on Iowa State and should be the team's long snapper from Day 1 next fall.


Postion: OT | City: Mundelein, Illinois

Note: Foster is a former Minnesota commit and one of the nation's top tackles.

After committing to Minnesota and coach Jerry Kill last April, offensive tackle Sean Foster decommitted from the program after Kill's departure and offensive staff changes. Kill recommended Iowa State and Foster ended up settling on the Cyclones over 15 other Power 5 offers with Illinois and Purdue mostly in the picture after his recruitment shuffled. In Foster, Iowa State landed a 6-foot-8 lineman with the potential to develop at tackle. Foster is ranked as the No. 32 overall tackle in 2016, including the No. 9 tackle in the Midwest. As is often the case with linemen at Power 5 programs, Foster is expected to redshirt and develop under the tutelage of Tom Manning. 


Postion: OG | City: Miramar, Florida

Note: Forbes is an under-the-radar offensive lineman who will shift to guard.

Back in April, Matt Campbell and Tom Manning identified Florida offensive lineman Keenan Forbes and offered him at Toledo. Even when he committed to Tulane sometime after, the two kept pushing for him. That relationship paid dividends when Iowa State landed Forbes in January. The 6-foot-3, three-star lineman, who is ranked as the No. 105 overall offensive tackle in the 2016 class, will shift to the interior and play guard at Iowa State. Forbes ultimately committed to Iowa State over Temple but held offers from Cincinnati, Toledo and UCF among several others. 


Postion: TE | City: Nixa, Missouri

Note: Allen is one of Iowa State's top gets and is a big, versatile tight end.

One of Iowa State's first targets and priorities on the recruiting trail was tight end Chase Allen. When Iowa State offered, it was primarily competing against Minnesota, though Allen also held offers from Illinois and Indiana. Within two weeks, he had added offers from Michigan, Florida State, Nebraska, Missouri and Oklahoma State. Ultimately, Allen committed to the Cyclones over his two other finalists, Michigan and Nebraska. The 6-foot-7, 225-pound tight end, who is ranked as the No. 21 overall tight end in 2016, will likely add 40-50 pounds when all is said and done and Iowa State likes his versatility to flex out wide and create mismatches against defenders.


Postion: WR | City: Cincinnati, Ohio

Note: Jones was a QB the last two years, but is a versatile athlete.

Despite playing quarterback the past two seasons at Colerain High School in Cincinnati — where he rushed for 3,309 yards and 46 touchdowns — Deshaunte Jones has been projected as a receiver at the collegiate level and committed to Iowa State as such. The 5-foot-10 four-star slot receiver, who is ranked as the No. 57 overall receiver in 2016, is a quick, shifty, big-play threat who could also be involved in Iowa State's kicking game or in other ways offensively. Jones ultimately committed to Iowa State over offers from the likes of Cincinnati, Georgia Tech, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Louisville among others. 


Postion: QB | School: NEO A&M College (Okla.)

Note: Park signed with Georiga as the No. 8 quarterback in 2014.

Iowa State went several weeks with a "mystery" JUCO quarterback on the board, and that prospect turned out to be the 6-foot-3 Jacob Park. Park originally signed with Georgia as a member of the 2014 class, a class in which he was ranked as a four-star, the No. 154 overall prospect and the No. 8 overall quarterback. Following his freshman season, Park transferred to NEO A&M College in Oklahoma where he sat out. He will now arrive at Iowa State with three years to play three. Park is most likely to act as Joel Lanning's backup initially, but gives the Cyclones another scholarship quarterback with experience at a Power 5 program and the physical maturity to step in quickly if needed. 


Postion: RB | City: Cincinnati, Ohio

Note: Montgomery is a dynamic athlete with good size.

In its search to land a second running back in the class, Iowa State found David Montgomery late and offered within the final two weeks before Signing Day. In Montgomery, the Cyclones land a 5-foot-11 running back with a big build at 200 pounds. Still, Montgomery has the quickness and ability to cut like a smaller back and adds another dymanic to running back coach Lou Ayeni's room full of youngsters. Montgomery also drew a late offer from Illinois and is regarded as the No. 68 overall running back in 2016. 


AllCyclones Top Stories