The Future Part 2: Austen Arnaud

Cyclone Nation was on location Tuesday night at Ames High School. Iowa State football recruit Austen Arnaud would have impressed Wayne Morgan as he dropped 16 points and 10 rebounds. Arnaud also held a D-1 basketball recruit to 10 points as Ames High defeated Johnston by a score of 55 to 49. Check out Part 2 of Cyclone Nation's series of features on Ames High's Golden Boy, Austen Arnaud.

I had the privilege to watch Austen Arnaud on the basketball court Tuesday night and two words came to my head after watching Arnaud on the hardwood. Those words are athlete and leader.


Obviously Arnaud won't be playing basketball for Iowa State, but I saw a lot of things from Arnaud on the basketball court that he can use on the football field.


When watching Arnaud during warm-ups, he left me with very good first impressions. The first thing I noticed about his was the strength of his legs. They were massive, especially while comparing them to the other kids on the court. The program had him listed at 6'5, but I would say that is a huge exaggeration. I would have guessed 6'2. Scout has him listed at 6'3. Another thing that impressed me about the future quarterback was the size of his hands. Just by looking at them from courtside they looked massive.  I got the chance to actually shake his hand after the game and I can assure you that they are big. That's always a good sign for a quarterback. We don't want him going Alex Smith on us.


Fortunately, being from Clarinda, Iowa, I got the chance to watch and play against Bret Meyer for my entire career at Clarinda. When watching Arnaud, it was impossible not to make comparisons of the two quarterbacks. I don't specifically remember what Bret looked like in a basketball uniform as a senior, but I do know that Bret's upper body is bigger than Arnaud's right now. That makes sense considering that Meyer has been training with Iowa State for the past three years. Arnaud already has a nice start. He looks extremely solid out there physically. He proved that has he completely bullied around Johnston's Brent Barz. For those who don't know, Barz is a 6'9 junior that's already committed to play basketball at UNI. The two matched up against one another all night and Arnaud held Barz to only 10 points.


While watching the first half of the game, I seriously thought that Arnaud should be recruited as a basketball player. He was a monster on the boards and he single handedly took over the first quarter to give Ames High a nice lead. The thing that impressed me was that he was critically involved in every play on the court. On the offensive side of the ball, he was obviously the go-to guy and he was an animal on defense as well.


At the end of the first quarter, Arnaud was in the bench catching a breather, but he wasn't just doing that. With about 20 seconds left, Arnaud was standing up shouting instructions to his teammates on the court.


That brings me to the second word that describes Arnaud: Leader. It was obvious to me that Arnaud was the leader of that team. He had the charisma that is hard to find in young athletes. When timeouts were called, the team looked to Arnaud for his approval while walking to the bench. Throughout the game, if a teammate made a mistake, Arnaud didn't yell at them, he patted them on the back. That's a great quality to have in a quarterback.


In the second quarter, Arnaud had a wide open look for a dunk. While seeing that a defender was nearing, Arnaud chose to simply lay the ball in and he then drew a foul and got a three point play. That shows maturity. Everybody in the gym knew that Arnaud could dunk, but he didn't need to celebrate it. He chose to take the sure points and played for the team, not himself.


That play showed me something about Arnaud that I think Meyer might have been lacking slightly in high school. Poise. Ames had a large lead for the majority of the game but when Johnston went on a run at the end of the game, every player on the floor was running around like a chicken with its head cut off but Arnaud was smooth. He was calm and every time he touched the ball it was like the Ames crowd could take a deep breath. He could make the game slow down when nobody else would. That's something that I don't think Meyer could have done in high school.


Arnaud showed me that he is a true competitor. When Johnston went on a big run at the end of the game, Brent Barz threw down a dunk for Johnston. It was obvious to me that Arnaud did not like Barz stepping up like that in his house. After that dunk I saw a look in Arnaud's eyes that I hadn't seen the whole night. It was almost as if he had something to prove to the UNI commit. The next trip down, Arnaud had a solid elbow in Barz's side and the game was on. Arnaud went on to miss an easy shot and screamed out of frustration. He didn't want to be shown up by anybody, especially a Panther. Arnaud got the win in the long run and outscored Barz 16-10.


Last but not least, the number one thing that impresses me about Arnaud is the class that this young man possesses. It doesn't matter if I'm talking to him on the phone, watching him play ball or meeting him for the first time after the game, Arnaud acted like a 30 year old grown man and not a senior in high school. While I say that, the fact that he is just a kid is what I liked about him. Watching Arnaud didn't seem like watching a future division one quarterback. He didn't bring attention onto himself by doing anything flashy. He played ball. It seemed like I watching an outstanding high school player that was having fun with his friends.


No matter what Austen Arnaud does on the field in the future for the Cyclones, I can guarantee you all one thing. On February 1st when Austen Arnaud signs his letter of intent, Iowa State is gaining more than a great quarterback. Iowa State is picking up one great young man. Arnaud's parents should be proud.


Make sure and check out Cyclone Nation tomorrow for our final story of this series on Arnaud, as Brent Blum will break down what he's seen from the standout quarterback.

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