A.J. Haase: Iowa State was my first offer. I received a few more verbal offers in phone calls from coaches in the Big 12 and two from the Ivy League. From the very start I always knew that Iowa State was the place I wanted to go, so I just stuck with the decision since the beginning.
Trent Flander and I hit it off and we're pretty much best friends now. We're going to be rooming together. I get along with James Smith pretty well, and Dominique Rocker is another one of my friends I met on the visit.
CN: What does it mean to you to be the guy that started it all off?
Haase: I guess it's pretty cool that I was the first one. I don't really know. It says a lot that I stuck with them after the bad season two years ago. I could just kind of tell that things were on the rise there and I stuck with them.
CN: Did you notice certain things in the program that gave you that indication?
Haase: The youth of the team. I really like the coaching staff. I really feel at home there and am happy to be going to Iowa State.
CN: What was it like then to see them turn the corner with a seven-win season in 2004?
Haase: It was reassuring, because that's what I expected to happen. But I really wasn't surprised at all. Everything just kind of fell into place like I thought it would. The program is going to keep getting better as long as my class contributes like they think it will.
CN: What do you think about this class?
Haase: From the guys I know in the class that I've met, we already get along and that says a lot for the team thing. The numbers and prestige of the players that are coming in, you can just tell that it's a good class. The coaches really know how to evaluate players and whether they can play at that level or not.
CN: How did you go about signing with the Cyclones on Wednesday?
Haase: At 7 a.m. I called Trent Flander and we signed at the exact same time. Right after we signed we three-way called Coach McCarney and faxed our letters-of-intent into them. At 10:30 we had a press conference at my school.
CN: Talk about the fit both on and off the field at ISU.
Haase: Off the field, I'm just going to concentrate on getting good grades and keeping up on my studies. On the field, I'm supposed to play strong-side linebacker – SAM – and hope I can be a leader and contribute as much as I can.
CN: How did you and the coaches make the decision on positions?
Haase: I didn't have any part in deciding it. I told them I was open to whatever they thought. They saw my stats and film, and decided they'd rather have me play linebacker than tight end. They like me better there, I guess.
CN: Anything but quarterback, right?
Haase (laughing): No, not quarterback. I'm done with that. I'm retired.
CN: But your numbers weren't too bad this year.
Haase: I had a lot of good receivers helping me out and the offensive line was outstanding. It was a team thing and not anything special that I did.
CN: That sounds like the mentality of last season's Iowa State team.
Haase: I think that's what they have going up there. I'm really excited to be a part of that, instead of being a part of a bunch of prima donnas that want attention themselves. Iowa State has a team thing going and I'm looking forward to it.
CN: When are you arriving at ISU this summer?
Haase: I will be up there on June 8th and will be there throughout the summer for workouts. I will be ready for that fall.
CN: After eight years of going to summer padded camp up there, how odd is it be on the other side now?
Haase: That will be neat. I have some friends that are going to come up that are juniors right now, and I'll be coming by to say hello. That will be a different experience. I've been going to that camp for so long and it's kind of weird. It's a good weird, though.