ISU Pursues Another Omaha Tailback

While courting Brandon Gunn last year, Iowa State relied on the recruit's relationship built with former Omaha Central running back JaMaine Billups. It may be the other way around for Gunn this fall, when the Cyclone true freshman could be the one recruiting a former high school teammate.

ISU has already started recruiting another running back from the talent-rich high school, 5-foot-9, 190-pound Robert Wesley. Gunn should be very familiar with Wesley, as the two shared time in the Central backfield last fall, combining for nearly 1,600 yards on the season.

As a junior, Wesley was good enough to earn playing time alongside Gunn, and approached 700 yards while averaging seven per carry.

"He backed up Brandon Gunn last season, and at times (Wesley) started a few games," said Omaha Central head coach Joe McMenamin. "A lot of times we'd have two backs in the backfield and (Wesley) was our wingback. He was a nice complement to Brandon, and a lot of teams would key on Brandon and it opened a few things for Robert. It ended up being a nice combination for us."

The duo could end up being a nice combination for the Cyclones, too. Gunn will open his freshman season in Ames vying for consideration as a tailback, although a position change could be in the works. Wesley, meanwhile, is getting recruited primarily at running back.

"He's being looked at offensively," McMenamin said. "He's been offered by Kansas and Iowa State. I think he's taking it all in at this point, and hasn't come close to deciding. He's flattered by the attention he's getting. He'll see what develops during the football season before he makes any kind of decision."

Wesley's running style is unique, and quite different from what Gunn and Billups brought to the table in Omaha.

"He actually reminds me of a back we had in the mid 80s, Bernard Jackson," McMenamin said. "He runs almost exactly like him. Robert is more of a quick back that can stop on a dime and make a quick cut. I hate to compare him to Thurman Thomas, but he runs like him. He has that type of running style, and is more of a scat back.

"Robert is a very quick back and runs with his pads low to the ground and has great vision and speed. I feel he'll probably be the top back in Nebraska this season."

ISU's area recruiter Mike Grant has already made several calls on Wesley and another Central senior-to-be, Nate Prader. But in his last trip to Omaha, Grant brought along head coach Dan McCarney to visit with McMenamin.

"(Coach Grant) was in about two weeks ago, and he came in with Coach McCarney (Wednesday)," Central's head coach said. "They can't talk to the athletes during this period, but can observe a practice or watch them run on a track. They can show their interest in a player and watch film."

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