Class of '03 Gets Bigger

As we first reported here at CN, Iowa State has picked up a commitment from yet another top in-state prospect for the class of 2003.

With three top in-state offensive linemen already in the fold, Iowa State has added another highly touted one in Mason City's John Tjaden.

The 6-foot-6, 270-pounder, rated fifth in Cloned's most recent list of top Iowa preps, committed to the Cyclones just prior to the Tennessee Tech game on Saturday.

"I went in the morning to take the academic tour and then met with Coach McCarney and talked a lot about the program, facilities and everything," said Tjaden. "I've just been there so much in the last year that I'm real comfortable with it," said Tjaden. "I really know the coaches and like the players. "I really like their program, facilities and knew it was the place to go. I couldn't see myself anywhere else."

Tjaden's commitment gives ISU nine for the 2003 signing class and eight from the state of Iowa. He joins Dubuque Wahlert's Aaron Brant, Garner-Hayfield's Brandon Cook and Atlantic's Tom Schmeling in making up an impressive crop of offensive linemen.

Joining what could be an all-Iowa offensive line in future years appeals to Tjaden.

"It really kind of helped, because I know them very well," said Tjaden, referring to the other three offensive linemen. "I talk to Brant and Cook all the time. It's really nice because I know everybody there and have developed some friendships there. I also know Zehr and Wierson are there. I know a lot of the people I'm going to be playing with."

His impressive play landed him a scholarship offer coming out of padded camp this summer. The future chemical engineering major, however, wanted to take some time and weigh his options before making a decision. That choice came one day after he opened his senior season by leading Mason City to a 28-19 victory over Des Moines Roosevelt.

"Iowa State has been my number one team for a long time," Tjaden said. "I kind of wanted to wait and everything to take some official visits and see what happened, but I was just comfortable with it and wanted to get it over with."

Tjaden also garnered recruiting interest from the likes of Iowa, Kansas State, Stanford, Harvard and several other programs.

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