"After going down there for the Iowa State-Iowa game, I saw the atmosphere they had for Cyclone football," he said. "I knew that was where I wanted to go after going to the game and seeing the atmosphere. We drove around and walked through all the tailgates. I like the campus, atmosphere and program."
Although he had yet to receive another Division I scholarship offer, Vanstrom was told he would soon be receiving one from Minnesota. Iowa and Nebraska had also pursued the mammoth offensive lineman and hosted him at their respective summer camps.
But a European trip cut short his summer experiences and would give ISU just enough time to scout and offer Vanstrom.
"The dream list I once had was Nebraska, Minnesota and Iowa," Vanstrom said. "They were the top three just by reputation alone. I went to the Minnesota camp and talked to them, but really didn't get to stay very long. I had the trip right afterwards and had to compact all the camps. I only went to each camp for a day.
"I went to Nebraska for one day and went to the Hawkeye Offensive and Defensive Line Camp. The day after that, I went to Minnesota's football camp.
Although he would not visit the Cyclone campus until just before fall two-a-days began, for one reason or another, Ames and ISU soon became a more logical choice. Of course, McCarney's scholarship offer in mid-July didn't hurt matters.
"I went to Nebraska, I saw it was a really old campus and didn't really like the atmosphere," Vanstrom said. "I didn't feel it was for me. After the camp evaluation at Iowa, they said they didn't want to offer me a scholarship there and wanted me to walk on. I liked the campus, but didn't feel that would be a good situation for me.
"After that, I was either going to go to Iowa State or Minnesota. I went to a few games at U of M., and talked to a few of the recruits and heard good and bad. When I talked to people about Iowa State, I only heard good. That started to turn my interest over to Iowa State."
As an offensive tackle, Vanstrom's upside is with his huge frame and growth potential. His footwork also impressed the ISU coaching staff.
"The size is the number one aspect that I have," Vanstrom said. "I feel that I can actually get low off the ball. A lot of taller guys tend to rise up as they come out of their stance. I think I get myself down good and get into the blockers. Another one of my strengths would be pulling. Last year I had a lot of pancakes on tackle pulls.
I feel like the only thing I really have to continue to improve on is my footspeed, and getting off the ball quicker. I get off the ball low, but don't get off quite as fast as I should."
Vanstrom's Blaine team is currently ranked second in Minnesota's Class 5A, the biggest grouping of schools in the state. Blaine, located approximately 20 miles north of the Twin Cities, is coming off of a 55-7 blasting of Coon Rapids Friday night, and is undefeated through four games.