There is excitement surrounding the Iowa State Football program that hasn’t been seen in a long time.
It doesn’t matter that the Cyclones are 0-3 at the present time, Iowa High School coaches realize that there is a storm brewing in Ames, it’s evident by how the new coaching staff led by new Head Football Coach Matt Campbell is recruiting nationwide but more importantly how they are taking care of their own back yard.
AllCyclones.com reached out to several high school coaches to get their thoughts on how Iowa State coaches are recruiting their home state.
Perhaps no one knows better what it takes to win at Iowa State than former Cyclone and current defensive coordinator at Cedar Rapids Kennedy High School Coach Kyle Knock.
Knock, a four-year letter winner on the Iowa State Football team from 1998-2003, isn’t shy to share with AllCyclones his feelings about Coach Campbell.
“I’m 120 percent on board with Coach Campbell,” Knock said. “There is no doubt that he is the right man to turn this program around. He’s like a younger version of Coach Dan McCarney. I watched him recruit one of our players in person when he first arrived in Ames, he had me sold in the first 15 minutes, I was ready to sign and play for the Cyclones again.”
During Knock’s playing career in Ames, there is one thing that he will always cherish.
“We beat Iowa all five years while I was on the team,” Knock said. “Our players believed in our coaches, they taught us how to believe in ourselves and I think you’re going to see the same thing with this new coaching staff.”
Knock will be the first to admit that recruiting the state of Iowa is a key factor in having success at Iowa State.
“Believe it or not I grew up a big Hawkeye fan,” Knock said. “When I first met this new staff that told me how important it was to them to win their backyard and to bring a culture back to Iowa State, a pride and an ownership of this state. They want to get the cream of the crop when it comes to recruiting Iowa.”
One holdover that Campbell kept on his coaching staff is current Director of Iowa High School Relations Coach Mitchell Moore. Moore is in his fifth season on the Iowa State staff, in 2014 he was the assistant director for football recruiting/player personnel after spending the 2013 season as a graduate assistant for the Cyclone offense.
Coach Moore, a Huxley, Iowa native is excited about his new boss and the future of Iowa State Football.
“Coach Campbell is so passionate and detailed when it comes to recruiting and coaching,” Moore said. “It’s fun to be a part of this staff, to see how important it is to Coach Campbell to recruit the state of Iowa. It’s our goal to keep the guys from this state in our state and playing in Ames. Being from Iowa myself, I understand how important it is.”
According to Coach Moore, Coach Campbell and the rest of his coaching staff are on a major mission.
“It’s about changing the culture here at Iowa State,” Coach Moore said. “Coach Campbell is a winner, he wants to go out and find guys who are winners that want to be a part of what we are building here and that’s a culture and an attitude that we are going to win at Iowa State.”
Dowling Catholic High School Head Coach Tom Wilson is also impressed after meeting Coach Campbell and his coaching staff.
“Coach Campbell is very impressive,” Coach Wilson said. “It doesn’t take long to realize that. He is wise beyond his years; he comes across as a seasoned veteran coach. When I first met him he talked about changing the culture at Iowa State, he has opened their doors to every high school coach in the state, he has done a great job getting to know the high school coaches. I’m not sure that I could be more impressed with a coach than I am with Coach Campbell.”
Another Iowa High School coach impressed with Iowa State’s new coaching staff is Creston’s Ryan McKim.
“Coach Campbell is a young high energy very personable coach,” McKim said. “He makes you feel like you have known him for a long time, and it’s only been three minutes, he is very impressive.”
Creston High School has a couple of upcoming top prospects and sees a lot of coaches come through their door.
“I really like the way all of the Iowa State coaches are promoting the culture they striving to build in Ames,” McKim said. “It’s evident that they truly believe the culture they promote, the athletes they recruit will help them turn their program around. Their coaching staff and Coach Moore does a really good job knowing where every in state kid is and who can help their program.”
West Delaware Head Football Coach Doug Winkowitsch has seen first-hand how the Iowa State coaching staff is recruiting.
One of his players, John Nagel switched his commitment from Northern Iowa to Iowa State after picking up an official offer from the Cyclones.
“I have been nothing but impressed with their entire coaching staff,” Winkowitsch said. “John had nothing but praise for Campbell and all of their coaches, he loves their energy and excitement. Coach Campbell gave me a personal call before he offered John, he and his staff was very upfront and honest with us from the beginning of the process. I love their energy and their approach to recruiting, it’s going to take some time but I feel that they will get the program turned around.”