Bryce Braaksma Spring Q&A

It may be too soon to compare walk-on sophomore Bryce Braaksma to former Cyclone Jordan Carstens, but the former Sheldon (Iowa) high schooler hopes to follow a familiar path to stardom in Ames. Braaksma turned heads in bowl practice last year and wants to do so again this spring.

CN: Since coming on during bowl practices last year your name has been mentioned as a possible contributor in 2005. What would it mean to you to hit the field as a Cyclone?

Bryce Braaksma: I've been trying to work hard and take the coaching from Coach Nelly and Coach Mac. I've tried to put it all together on the field. Hopefully I get the chance to be out there some time.

CN: You began your Iowa State career at 205 pounds and now go around 250. Are you starting to get the ‘Jordan Carstens' label, as far as being a walk-on that comes out of nowhere to play a big role?

Braaksma: A few people have mentioned it, but it's a little too much to live up to. He's a great player. I'm just working hard for a chance to be on the field. I try to go as hard as I can every day and give it my best.

CN: What was your situation coming out of Sheldon High School three years ago? Did you have many opportunities from other programs?

Braaksma: I wasn't really recruited much. I came to the Iowa State football camp. I really liked it down here and liked the coaches. They told me to walk on. A couple of Division II schools were looking at me, but only for partial scholarships. I just figured I'd give it a chance here and if I didn't make it I would go to school.

CN: Having been so under-sized when you got here, what kind of mindset did you have throughout the last couple years?

Braaksma: Obviously, the strength and conditioning coaches have gotten me on the right path, as far as the eating and weight programs. It just comes down to getting to the table, eating a lot, and running to keep your same speed. I think I've been able to maintain my speed. I didn't run a 40 this year and had surgery on my knee about a month ago. It seems like I'm about the same.

CN: What were some things you were doing well in Ames and Shreveport during bowl workouts?

Braaksma: I really got noticed on the scout team making plays against the starters and giving them some trouble. By continuing to do that they kind of decided to give me a chance in the two-deep. They're giving me a look at second string. Hopefully I can keep that going into the season.

CN: Brent Curvey and Nick Leaders are anchoring the middle right now, but one is a junior and the other a senior. Are you encouraged that your time may soon come?

Braaksma: That would be great, but I have a long ways to go to get there. I would love to earn a scholarship and know I have to work hard for it. I need to continue proving myself. It's kind of like what Shawn Moorehead did. He didn't get one until he proved himself on the field. I'd love to make the improvements he did last year. But I still need to put on about 15 or 20 pounds. I'll just keep working hard and eating.

CN: What areas would you like to improve between now and training camp?

Braaksma: Footwork. Strength. Speed. I need to know where I've got to go, know the plays, and understand the defense.

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