Signee Haase Reflects on Recruiting Process

Bonne Terre (Mo.) North County High School standout A.J. Haase became the first player to commit to Iowa State for the 2005 class, doing so during his junior season. With the recruiting process now finished, Haase looked back on his original decision and spoke on his future as a Cyclone.

CN: You were the very first player to commit to Iowa State and head coach Dan McCarney. What was it like sticking with that decision throughout most of your junior year and entire senior season?

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.

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