McCarney Signing Day Transcription

Iowa State head coach Dan McCarney introduced his 2004 recruiting class to the media on Wednesday afternoon. Here is a free transcription of his comments.

Dan McCarney:

"Signing day is the culmination of a lot of people's hard work. We involve everybody on this campus. The first thing that we sell is the people of Iowa State. It's been a great day for us. We're very excited. We started this morning at 7:05 with Bobby Chalk, the defensive back from Texas, and we finished at about 2 p.m. with R.J. Sumrall from down in Florida."

"The indoor facility is going great. I'm told by the people involved and heading the project up that they should start early next week with the turf. That is the last thing they'll do, as they finish this project. Hopefully by the end of February and early March we'll be in that building. Without question it really helped our recruiting this year. It's going to be an unbelievable facility and there won't be any professional or college facility better than that in America."

"Spring ball begins March 24th and we'll have our spring game on April 17th. Practices in the spring will be open to the public. All players will be ready except for a couple.

"Jimmy Morris, who had that severe knee injury and surgery will not be ready for spring. Waye Terry is going to have to give up his football career at Iowa State. It was a problem that was detected in the Missouri game, and went way back long before his career began at Iowa State. Thank God that happened before any serious damage was done. He's planning on staying here and we want him to get his degree, but his playing days are over."

"This is a very balanced class. We addressed our needs. A lot of seniors graduated, which means you have a lot of scholarships available. I'm really proud of my coaching staff. The young men that we signed today and recruited over the last few months chose Iowa State, not because we had a disappointing season but because of the program and people we have in place. There are a lot of things available and opportunities here. The future of this program is absolutely phenomenal. The young men and the families believed that."

"We were a couple coaches short for about 95 percent of the recruiting period, but we didn't miss a beat. My best recruiters were still here on campus. With the hire of Todd and Barney late in the recruiting, they were able to still help us on a few kids. We would not have signed Brandon Johnson without Barney coming to our program. He is a steal as far as we're concerned."

"We signed 22 high school players and six junior-college players, 15 of them on offense and 13 on defense. One of the many things I like about this class is there are at least a dozen of these kids that we've seen on tape or we've talked about that can play more than one position in college. Not that they played more than one position in high school, because almost all of them did that, but when you project them in college at Iowa State – many of these kids can play more than one position. What you see in black and white now may not be what you see in September, because of the talent and versatility of these young guys."

"There were nine states represented with this class. Speed is a major priority. Before we ever step foot anywhere in the country to recruit and attract young men to this program, we're going to take care of business in the state of Iowa. There's no question we did that again. This class reminds me a lot of any of those classes we brought in with the postseason bowl teams that we had. I'm real excited about this group."

"It's an easy sell here at Iowa State. Recruiting is tough. It's not for everyone. That's why some guys go back to other walks of life, or try to get in the NFL. It's not easy. At this University, knowing the people we have and fans we have, you see the unbelievable success with our other programs. This is a special place. Did we get everyone we wanted? No. Did we use a lot of visits? Absolutely we did. But I think our batting average overall was outstanding."

"For the most part, with a few exceptions, we've been recruiting this class for a long time. Sometimes, in recruiting annals and evaluations around the country, the longer you wait on recruits and they wait, the more their stock rises. Some of these kids that made early commitments to Iowa State or other schools early may not get those high ratings. I could care less. We got a good start on this class long before we started the 2003 season."

"We're not going to sit around and be the punching bag for the Big 12 two seasons in a row. That's the way it was for decades. We turned the program around and had major success. We took this program to the top 25 and top 10, and we have all intentions of going back to that. ‘If you want to be a part of that, you need to join this football family.' The payoff today was the signing of a good group of young men."

"One of the reasons we were able to attract some of the best running backs in the country is the guy that coaches them every day. Tony Alford. That's the bottom line. He does a great job. Sooner or later, through recruiting, those young men want to come play for the guy. We have a real opportunity to play in a well-balanced offense and get back to where we were for seven years. Under Barney's leadership I know we're going to get back to that."

"You're talking about a guy that has this great career in high school, and his maturity level goes way beyond 18 years old. If you put yourself in the position to graduate from high school early because of maturity and academics and setting goals and going after them. He's one of the classiest kids we've ever brought into this program."

"Webster Patrick is the fastest of the bunch and brings speed to the program that we have really lacked overall. He is a fast running back. Mike Nelson did a great job. It doesn't hurt when you've got Brandon Brown and Brent Curvey from that same program starting and having success here."

"Greg Coleman is easy to take for granted, because he's in-state and over in Iowa City. He's a great football player and one of the top wrestlers in the country. If you've watched the program and our progress, there were only two other backs that were running back/wrestler combinations. One was Troy Davis and the other was Darren Davis. There weren't too bad. Greg has a chance to have a great future."

"There wasn't any question that Jason Scales and Greg Coleman were the two best skill players in the state of Iowa. They are really outstanding. They're right here and we're real excited about it."

"We were way down in interceptions last year, and John Skladany and Chris Ash knew that. We needed to get back up and signed the two defensive backs that led America in junior-college interceptions in Hargis and Gair. Those guys can play. Have they lined up and covered Oklahoma's, Texas', Kansas State's and Iowa's receivers? No. They've been in junior college. But these two almost had 20 interceptions, and we're ecstatic to get both of those kids."

"Terrance Highsmith wants a shot at quarterback and I promised him that. We're going to give him a shot at quarterback, but if he can't be our number one guy we're not going to stand around and watch him be backup. Let's get him to wide receiver, because we feel like he can be an All-Big 12 athlete in this conference."

"Fabian started at Iowa. I like his maturity and size. He had some academic issues at Iowa and has matured. He didn't point fingers at anybody. He took responsibility and is a man because of it. He's looking forward to playing at Iowa State and going to Iowa City. He has really handled himself well at Iowa Central."

"We mailed down there and made some calls, but really didn't do much of anything down there. What we did was waste some time there in the past. We didn't invest down there. But DeMontie Cross got down there and did an excellent job. He built some relationships and let them know we're going to be down there. There is talent, ability, exposure and awareness of the Big 12 and with our program. We'd be crazy not to go back."

"With Hicks and Dobbins, we have two players that can challenge for two-deep spots right away in the secondary and linebacker. John Skladany wanted a big, fast, physical, experienced linebacker with Dobbins. He weighed in at 247 pounds when he got here. He isn't fat. It's like mine was when I was 18 years old. He is slender, in shape and looks great. I'm thrilled with him."

"There are some living examples that we sold to these young men. We are not afraid to play young guys. Yes, we have some holes to fill with seniors that have graduated. Yes we aren't one bit satisfied with last year. We don't sleep a lot at night now because we anticipate and can't wait to get started on next season. I feel we got a great response overall. It's not easy going on the road at 2-10, but I've been told before that I can sell ice to the eskimos and I almost had to do that through the process. They want to hear winning and bowl games. We did it three years in a row and didn't last year."

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