First of all, let me say thank you to all of you that attended last night. A good friend of mine, who is a Hawkeye fan, made it out to the event last night out of curiosity and was impressed. He couldn't believe four members of the Iowa State coaching staff would be willing to come down to Des Moines on a cold, February night for an event that wasn't sanctioned by the University. And they also did it for free on their own time. We had a packed house of people there last night at The Nest, which my Hawkeye friend says was at least half the crowd the Polk County I-Club had for their recruiting event last week! All of us here at CN, The Nest, Off Campus Apparel & Novelties, and the ISU football staff were honored that you could attend. As defensive backs coach Chris Ash told me, "We love doing this and we'll keep coming down for this as long as you'll have us."
With your continued supoprt we can make this an annual event!
Ok, enough glad-handing and shameless, self-promotion. For those of you unable to make it last night, here are a few of the mental notes I made that you might find interesting...
The highlight video of the Class of 2004
- All five of the running backs are very impressive. However, the one that really stood out to me was Webster Patrick. We heard all along how good he was, and how blessed ISU felt to land him. However, when our competing network ranked him the top all-purpose back in the country, I was skeptical. He couldn't be that good, could he? Umm...yes, he could be. Great speed, which you already knew about. But he also runs with surprising power. Forget about his size. He is the real deal. In my opinion, it should be fun watching Jason Scales and Patrick battle Stevie Hicks for playing time in the backfield for years to come. People seem to be overlooking Scales, because he's local and we've seen him so much. But he is the total package, and extremely smart and coachable. I think Scales and Patrick will remain at tailback barring attrition and injury.
- Tyease Thompson and Brandon Gunn have great hands and excellent speed in the open field. Gunn seems destined to play safety, and I think Thompson would make an excellent slot receiver in the future, which just so happens to be where top schools like Tenneseee and LSU that were recruiting him projected him as well.
- I can also see why Michigan loved Greg Coleman so much before his legal troubles last summer. He's just a bulldozer with good, straight-ahead speed. Looking at Coleman's power, nasty demeanor, size, and athleticism and it's tough not to see what he can do at a position like linebacker.
- Speaking of linebackers, the next most impressive player on the tape was Tim Dobbins. He reminds me a little bit of former K-State stud Terry Pierce. I don't know about the caliber of competition he played at JC, but at a solid 247 pounds he was routinely running guys down from behind. I can't believe he wasn't more highly recruited. I know he's one of Bill Seals' favorite players as well. Brandon Brown's stay at MIKE linebacker could be short-lived.
- I was also very impressed with Collins Eboh of D.M. Roosevelt. This is Terry Allen's guy, and when you talk to him about Eboh you can tell that Allen really believes he got over on everybody else by signing this kid late. On film he looks the part in shoulder pads, and also has good speed.
- Among the defensive backs, the one that impressed me the most was Bobby Chalk. The JUCO guys like Josh Hargis, Jerry Gair, and LaMarcus Hicks looked good breaking on the ball. However, most of the interceptions I saw them nab on tape were terrible throws and reads by the opposing quarterback. In terms of long-term potential Chalk should remind you of Ellis Hobbs.
- Chris Brown and R.J. Sumrall look to be late signing period steals. Brown over and over again broke big runs on tape at quarterback, and if you lead your team to a state title in Texas you can ball. Sumrall showed excellent hands and open-field moves. He was really victimized by poor quarterback play at his high school last year. His cousin is Reggie Wayne of the Indianapolis Colts.
- I wasn't too sure what to think about any of the offensive linemen, to be honest. They were all road-graters, but it looked to me like they were hardly picking on guys their own size. I did like the film of Joe Vanstrom blocking downfield, however.
I'm sure there's more that I just can't recall right now...besides, Bill's opinion should be more respected that mine anyway.
If you are a frequent follower of this website, then you really didn't miss out on any earth-shattering news regarding the team you didn't already know...it does certainly appear that Todd Blythe has one of the vacant starting wide receiver slots locked down...listening to new quarterbacks coach Todd Fitch, Cris Love will have an uphill battle in the quarterback race. He likes athleticism, and clearly showed more enthusiasm talking about Austin Flynn and Bret Meyer...speaking of Meyer, the assistant coaches weren't necessarily gushing over him the way Mac does. Heck, at last week's GDM Cyclone Club luncheon, Mac nearly had Meyer beatified. That doesn't mean they don't think he'll be good, because they certainly indicated that. They just seemed less willing to annoint him the second coming of Seneca...regarding the handling of special teams duty, let's just say the four coaches who attended -- Allen, Ash, Barney Cotton, and Fitch -- aren't overly willing to volunteer for that duty...Cotton was the star of the evening, for obvious reasons. Most fans wanted to know about his new offense. Cotton said he would like to see a combination of K-State's offense, Nebraska's offense 10 years ago (when Tom Osborne was running it), and Iowa State's offense in 2000...Cotton came across as down-to-earth and very likeable, much more comfortable in a setting like this than Steve Brickey would have been. I liked Brickey a lot personally, but he couldn't hold your attention like Cotton can. Hopefully, the players pick up on that as well.
That's all for now.