ISU Enters Fray for Minnesota Prep

Iowa State is using its proximity to the Twin Cities and connection with a Cretin-Durham (Minn.) standout's former teammate to get its foot in the door of one of the top offensive linemen in the Midwest. But Cyclone coaches also know they'll have to beat out some top Division I programs for his services.

The recruiting process has started early for Rafael Eubanks, a 6-foot-3, 290-pound offensive lineman. After helping his team to a 10-2 record and playoff appearance in 2003, he has collected nine scholarship offers.

"It's been fun and exciting for me," said Eubanks. "Everything that's come so far is great. It's brought about a lot of opportunities. Minnesota, Iowa, Iowa State, Wisconsin, Northwestern, Maryland, Stanford, Arizona State, Illinois have all offered me."

The Cyclones are hoping they can keep Eubanks close to home by its location, and the fact they'll be adding a Cretin-Durham alum to the roster this fall. Former Minnesota Gopher lineman Scott Stephenson announced plans to transfer in late-February and will have to redshirt the 2004 season.

"A lot of people like to put an emphasis on the closeness of the school, and besides Minnesota I know Iowa State is the second-closest school," Eubanks said. "I know that's going to be a big factor. I have a sister who is two years old and I was the only child before that. I've grown very close to her. I feel like if I go a ways away for school, I'm going to miss out on a lot of her early years. Iowa State being so close to home would be good.

"One of the former players for Cretin-Durham, who started off at Minnesota, will be transferring there to play. That will be another great thing, because I'd know people there ahead of time. I can get his aspect on what Iowa State would bring, and everything I've heard about them so far has been great too. I'm definitely going to give Iowa State a look and they might be in my top five."

Eubanks also points out, however, that he intends to take his time selecting the school of his choice.

"It's really hard for me to stay, because I'm not well acquainted with them all," he said. "I don't have enough information on them to make a smart enough decision to put one school ahead of the other. I can say that I'm going to take enough time to investigate each school's academics, majors, and what they have to offer in football."

Eubanks began his varsity career playing on both sides of the line, but it appear his future is on the interior offensive line. After getting his feet wet at guard last fall, he'll be making the move to center in time for his senior season.

"I played a little bit my sophomore year at offensive tackle and defensive tackle, but last year I started at offensive guard and had a great season," Eubanks said. "Next year I'm planning on moving from guard to center, so I've been practicing a lot of that in the offseason. I'm looking forward to it. Hopefully I'll enjoy it.

"My biggest strength would probably be my pulling. We did a lot of guard pulling in our plays, and I was able to get out there and use my athletic ability. I was able to use that to dominate people. We plan on doing that this season with the center, so I'm looking forward to that."

A stop at Minnesota's summer camp is apparently in the plans for Eubanks, who said he doesn't know what other camps he will attend.

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