ISU's 2005 Class Addresses Needs

<B>AMES, IA --</B> Months, and in most cases years, of buildup led to Iowa State's Wednesday afternoon Signing Day press conference. Head coach Dan McCarney introduced 24 newcomers for the Class of 2005, capping off a day with less intrigue than usual.

For the most part, the Cyclones got everyone they had expected and coaches were excited about the influx of talent heading to Ames. The only bit of drama came with the car trouble that prevented Itawamba JUCO transfer John Machado from signing.

"It's a big day for football coaches all around the country," said the Cyclone coach. "We felt like we had a real successful day. What we thought was going to happen in the last 24 hours happened, starting at 7 o'clock this morning. We ended up signing 20 high school players and four junior college players.

"We do have one more signee we can't announce yet because the papers haven't come through. There was car trouble. We hear a lot of stories through recruiting up to signing day, but this was factual and did happen. We'll announce it when the papers come through."

McCarney could not comment on Machado specifically since he has yet to sign officially, but all signs are that the two-year player was the remaining player.

Two of the headliners Wednesday were mid-year transfers Scott Fisher and Walter Nickel, who played last season at Dixie State College of Utah. Both were on hand to answer questions from the media, and their new coach believes the two will make big impacts in the spring and eventually this fall.

"Walter is a tight end who we felt like was one of the most athletic tight ends in junior college football," McCarney said. "His teammate, Scott Fisher, claims to be much better looking than his twin brother who is also coming to Iowa State. Whether he can play or not, he's the first one off the bus that first game of the year. He's a heck of a player."

The Cyclone coach was also encouraged about the other two JUCO signees that are headed to campus this summer. Garden City (Kan.) linebacker Alvin Bowen and Fisher's twin brother Paul, also of Dixie State, round out an impressive group of immediate contributors.

For the first time in several years, ISU branched out to 12 different states in filling up the '05 class. Included in that bunch was the state of Florida, which produced six players altogether.

Among the headliners in that class are Class 2A player of the year Chris Singleton (Fort Myers Dunbar) and talented running backs Jason Harris (Clearwater) and Dominique Rocker (Tavares). Cyclone fans also got official word that ‘silent' commit Stephon Dale (Fort Myers Dunbar) would be a part of the class.

McCarney gave a lot of props to assistant coach and recruiter Chris Ash for his work recruiting the group of six.

"It's a team thing and a lot of guys have been there evaluating and recruiting," McCarney said. "Chris Ash was my primary recruiter on the gulf side on the West Coast. He did a tremendous job. I've seen first-hand what he does. He writes notes, calls, is relentless, and builds relationships.

"There is a lot of good talent down there. Somebody told me that there were more than 200 players in the state of Florida that are leaving the state to go to Division I schools. We're glad that we have the bunch that we have, and that's going to enhance our chances of going back there in the future to get more of those great young men."

One major difference in the Cyclones' recruitment of the 2005 class was that it came off a winning season, as opposed to last February's group that signed after a 2-10 record.

"Your backs are against the wall when you come out of a season like a year ago," McCarney added. "You get a real test. Is the program cracking, or was it just a temporary setback? Because of the commitment of my players and dedication of my staff, we were able to come back this year and show that we didn't like 2003 and didn't appreciate it. We were embarrassed and were coming back real strong. To have that trophy in front of us, I'm so proud of it."

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