Cyclones Breaking New Ground

While it turns out plenty of Division I prospects year in and year out, Mississippi is not a state Iowa State has frequented in past seasons. But that has changed this year, as the Cyclones will be signing at least one talented junior-college prospect from the state.

ISU head coach Dan McCarney secured a verbal commitment from Coahoma Community college cornerback LaMarcus Hicks. The 6-foot-1, 180-pounder chose the Cyclones over scholarship offers from Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Middle Tennessee State.

He figures to be an impact player on a team that is losing cornerbacks Harold Clewis and Johnny Smith, and returns just one veteran starter in Ellis Hobbs.

"I talked to him this morning for a few minutes and he kind of liked the facilities, area and it's also a chance to play in the Big 12," said Coahoma head coach Freeman Horton. " He's going to play against some great teams and feels comfortable with his decision. I think he made a pretty good decision to go to Iowa State. I think he's going to be happy once he gets up there and will be able to contribute right away and play next year.

"He's pretty fundamentally sound and comes from a good background. He's a real smart player, so he should make adjustments fine. Iowa State's getting a good kid. He's a good student and football player. They're going to be very happy with him."

While the Cyclones would have loved to get Hicks at mid-term, but were unable to sign any January transfers, the talented cornerback's academic situation actually played out positively for McCarney.

"They were on him from day one and started recruiting him last year about this time," Horton said. "I think they may have been the first ones to start recruiting him and stuck with him from then on. They never gave up on him. At first we thought he was going to graduate at semester, and at first I thought he was going to go to either Ole Miss or Mississippi State. He's only short one class, three hours, until he graduates."

Hicks' solid academic standing is positive news for a Cyclone coaching staff that has struggled to get two-year players that contribute in Ames.

The Coahoma cornerback earned a spot on Mississippi's JUCO all-state team and was invited to an all-star game involving the state's top J.C. players. Hicks is ISU's 17th commitment for the Class of 2004 and first to give a solid commitment out of last weekend's group of visitors.

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