Haase Gives ISU Verbal For '05

Iowa State's focus has now turned to recruiting and filling next February's class. But head coach Dan McCarney has gotten a little help for 2005 with a commitment from a high school junior from the St. Louis area.

Bonne Terra (Mo.) North County High athlete A.J. Haase chose the Cyclones after meeting up with the team prior to its game against Missouri last weekend in Columbia. Although he may be quite a bit younger than other recent ISU commitments, Haase is a veteran at summer padded camp having visited the past six years.

His experiences in Ames led to him choosing the Cyclones almost before his recruiting had even started.

"I've been going to camp there as long as I can remember, so I just feel at home with the coaches," said Haase, an all-conference tight end this fall. "I love the campus and everything about the school. They're the best coaches I've been around in my life. They take you in like they've known you their entire life. I like the way they run the program and trust whatever they have to say.

"I didn't want to get caught up in any kind of recruiting game with a bunch of schools telling you different things. I've always wanted to go to Iowa State and become a Cyclone. I'm very excited that I made my decision early."

Although Haase was not treated to a good showing on the field Saturday from the Cyclones, he knows that the program is on solid footing and will rebound in the future.

"I think things are going up for Iowa State and I'm not going to look too much at this season," he said. "Injuries and other things happened, and young players have had to step up and play. That's given them some experience. Next season and in the years to come, the program is going to skyrocket."

Haase helped his team to nine wins in 10 regular season games and a berth in the Class 4A playoffs. North County made it to the second round before losing to state finalist Ladue.

In addition to his play on offense, Haase also recorded more than 70 tackles on the defensive side of the ball. Does he have any preference on where he plays at the next level?

"I like both sides of the ball, so I don't really have a favorite," he said. "They told me to keep my options open and keep working hard, because I could be a linebacker, tight end or whatever they want me to be."

Cyclone coaches apparently liked what they saw in Haase's junior season, as he began to develop into the player they thought he could.

"We sent in some highlight tapes to them and then they gave my dad a call," Haase said. "They said they liked my speed and have known me for six years, so they know what I can do from what I've done at camp."

Haase is ISU's first commitment for the Class of 2005.

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