Previewing the ISU wide receiver corps

As every ISU fan knows, this years Cyclone receivers should be as good if not better than last year. That's because they return everyone except for the rugged Todd Miller and now add ex-QB Austin Flynn.

Looking back at last year was the year of the Blythe, Todd that is.  His nine touchdown receptions already has him tied with Luther Blue (74-76) for 10th on the all-time career leader list with Ed Williams (94-97) & Keith Krepfle's (71-73) 15 TD grabs. The 6-foot-5 redshirt sophomore, Blythe will certainly draw many double teams which should create opportunities for the rest of the talented crew.


When you stand side by side with Todd, and look up, as most of us do, you wonder if Iowa State could actually have this gifted and amazing person as well as talented football player. After seeing Ed Williams, Tracy Henderson (82-84), Lance Young (01-03), Lane Danielsen (00-03), Dennis Ross (85-88), Chris Anthony (97-00) and Ty Watley (96-97) it's easy to say that all of these players were very important to Cyclone history and paved the way for Todd to come here and have success.


We've all known that the Cyclones have had many special running backs, but this years receivers as a whole seemed determined to make their mark in the history books.


Austin Flynn (6-foot-1, redshirt junior) said that the biggest thing he has had to work on is blocking.


"It's a challenge to know the assignments but instead of getting hit all the time, I like the opportunity to make a key block to free someone for a touchdown," Flynn said.


Flynn told me that he looks forward to going up against his roommate, Matt Robertson in practice.


"Now he can hit me," Flynn said. "[He] was not able to do so with me wearing a grey jersey last year. I may have to throw one on when the coaches aren't watching."


Austin has shown me that his sacrifice for this team is what brings out the best in others. Who wouldn't want to be a starting quarterback when they grew up?


Austin did and was, but now knows that [he's doing] whatever he can do to help the team win games. It doesn't matter where you play, as long as you're playing. His toughest road game was the Iowa game last year; he said the crowd was very loud. Austin loves practicing in the Indoor facility because he hasn't gotten use to Iowa winters yet.


Ryan Baum [5-foot-10, redshirt junior] hopes that he can take what he learned from Todd Miller and Lane Danielsen and be the go-to-guy on third downs. Baum has also been working on punt returns; his speed and being the stinger on kick coverage lead him to this opportunity. He too pointed to the Iowa game as being the toughest environment to play on the road.


This next receiver is one who I look at being the playmaker this year. Jon Davis [6-foot-4, redshirt junior] should have many one-on-one opportunities to exploit the defenses with them worrying about Blythe.


Jon told me that he has worked harder on his consistency as he realized he dropped too many balls last year. He feels improvements from last year have been his strength and understanding the blocking schemes. Jon loves playing on grass and wears gloves in cold weather because it's hard to feel your fingers when catching in the cold. The Iowa game was his choice of being the loudest.


Milan Moses [6-foot-1, redshirt sophomore] was really happy to speak with the media and showed his excitement for the upcoming season. He just wants to contribute any way he can. He has gained weight and strength during the off-season so his blocking will be effective. He too wears gloves and doesn't think there is much difference in natural grass vs. turf. Milan had some key receptions on third down and knows that his best weapon is finding a seam for Bret Meyer to find him.


RJ Sumrall [6-foot-1] is a redshirt that right now is listed as Blythe's backup. His upper body strength is noticeable as you approach. He is not as tall as the starters but will definitely make up for it in his strength and speed. He told me that studying game film, learning blocking schemes and just staying focused are things that he has worked on since last year. RJ wears gloves and feels there is no difference between a good quality grass field and artificial turf. He would like to stay away from Dobbins over the middle as "Tim is tough, very fast and can hit."


One other player I caught up with was Euseph Messiah [5-foot-10] from Bettendorf. He is a redshirt freshman and was very impressive with his communication skills. It was a joy to talk to him even though it will be hard to cut into playing time with the others above him. He wants to work hard to find himself on special teams. He mentioned that his major is broadcast journalism and from what I heard, I think he will do all right. 


There are a couple of newcomers who have an outside shot of seeing playing time this year at the wide-out position. One is Levi Kanwischer [6-foot-1, freshman] from Urbandale High School who faired well in the Iowa Shire Bowl game. He has good size for a freshman and put up good numbers against the CIML last fall. Another incoming freshman is Marquis Hamilton [6-foot-3, 215 pounds] from Oklahoma City who the coaches will watch closely as already, size wise he looks like a D-I player.


Other roster players are Nick Campbell [6-foot-2, redshirt junior] from Marion, Matt Scribbins [6-foot-4, freshman] from Clear Lake, Tyler Lorenzen [6-foot-5, redshirt freshman] from Fremont, and Brett Jarvis [6-foot-4, redshirt senior] from Iowa City.


As Terrance Highsmith told me, "All of our receivers have unique abilities. Jon Davis with his curl routes, Blythe with his fades, Mi Mo [Milan Moses] with the underneath dumps; RJ [Sumrall] with his precise routes and Flynn on his ability to just get open. It's not just one style of receiving corps that's out there. All are tough to cover and bring trouble for defenses to contain."


I couldn't say it better myself. Oh to be a quarterback for your Iowa State Cyclones. If there's a stock market in receivers, I'd invest.

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