ISU Surges on Nickel's List

Even Walter Nickel wondered why Iowa State was recruiting him. The Dixie State College (Utah) tight end makes no secret of the fact he wants to sign with a Division I program that utilizes his position in the passing game, and the Cyclones hadn't done that as much as he liked this season. But after making his trip to Ames, Nickel's view of ISU had changed.

Just how much has it changed now from what it was before? After visiting Nov. 23-25, Nickel is actually listing the Cyclones on an even line with Tulsa, a program that features its two tight ends extensively in the passing game.

"I was concerned about going to Iowa State, because I am also being recruited by Tulsa and their team leads the nation in catches by tight ends with 89 or 90," said Walter Nickel, who signed with Dixie State out of University Place (Wash.) Curtis High School. "Iowa State only had about 19, so I was kind of curious as to why they were recruiting me so heavily since they don't get the ball much to their tight ends.

"But once I got there, I saw the plan of the future and going back to the way it was when Mike Banks was there. They want to do the same thing with me, and really haven't had the right type of players there to do that."

ISU and Tulsa have both offered scholarships.

Immediate playing time is also on the table in Ames, as the Cyclones are losing three senior tight ends James Wright, Brett Kellogg, and Kenny Segin to graduation. Nickel will sign with a program at semester and be eligible for spring football, which would speed up the transition from JUCO to Division I ball.

Nickel gave the Cyclones high marks on his official visit, but where he will sign on December 15th remains a mystery.

"I really had fun out in Ames and the coaches were real nice," he said. "I didn't meet a lot of the defensive coaches, but I did meet the defensive line coach. Iowa State's in one of the top conferences in the country, and have an offense that I would be more than happy to be a part of. I loved everything about it and there wasn't one thing I didn't enjoy, but I still have no idea where I'm headed for spring. I don't even know what I'm going to eat tomorrow morning for breakfast."

Nickel may add another official visit for the weekend of December 10th, but says he has yet to schedule. Among the pool of candidates are Oregon, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Ball State, and New Mexico. He added that Kansas had offered him a scholarship.

Either way, it's pretty clear that his top two of ISU and Tulsa will be hard to beat.

"Iowa State and Tulsa both feel like the right fit, and those are the two trips I've taken," he said. "Those are the two schools where I can see myself playing. I have interest in other places, but a couple of those schools haven't even offered me yet, and I haven't taken trips there."

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