Some two months after he was offered and only two days after he visited campus and met with coaches, Cedar Rapids linebacker O'Rien Vance decided to call Iowa State coach Matt Campbell late Monday afternoon.
With interest from Iowa, Michigan State and Notre Dame at this early stage in his recruitment and holding his offer from the Cyclones, Vance had heard enough. So Monday, he became Iowa State’s second commit in the 2017 class.
“I called Coach Campbell and when I first told him he didn’t believe me,” Vance said. “He was like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m committed.’ He said, ‘You just made my day.’ He went and told the rest of the staff and they all were cheering and it was loud.”
Iowa State made the 6-foot-3, 215-pound hybrid defender a priority from the onset of its arrival in Ames, offering him in the second week of December. Since then, linebackers coach Tyson Veidt had watched him lift at Cedar Rapids Washington and Vance took an unofficial visit to Ames this past weekend.
Vance, who was named all-state as a junior in 2015, will play linebacker for the Cyclones but could also factor into the team’s hybrid defensive end spot.
“The message initially was they wanted me and they wanted me bad. They didn’t want me to leave out of state,” Vance said. “The first thing they told me they liked was they thought I’m an overall great player and it wasn’t just the fact that I was good on tape, it was the fact that what I did after a bad play happened and stuff like that. They didn’t just look at the highlight film and watch my game film.”
Vance, who recorded 101 tackles (82 solo) and 25 tackles for a loss as a junior, emerged last season as one of the top in-state prospects in 2017. He has been a top in-state priority for Campbell and Co. and was somewhat under-the-radar.
“He's a kid I like because he shows versatility having played linebacker but also rushing off the edge,” Scout Midwest recruiting analyst Allen Trieu said of Vance. “He runs a lot of things down. He has length and speed and he's an attacker. He's always moving towards the football and doing it with urgency. I think he can add weight and bring a lot of things to a defense. I felt and still feel he is a kid who deserved more pub than what he got.”
Vance plans to visit Ames this spring for practices and expect to attend the program’s camp this summer. For now, he’s found a new home.
“Everybody around there is just upbeat and joyful,” Vance said of why he committed. “It meant a lot [to be a priority]. It showed they actually cared and they want me to be there and they actually believe in me.”