Toomey: ISU the Perfect Fit

In need of some immediate help at linebacker, given the impending departure of seniors Jeremy Loyd and Matt Word, the Cyclones figure to get that from its 13th commitment for the 2003 signing class.

Iowa Central Community College linebacker Gabe Toomey committed to the Cyclones after receiving a scholarship offer from Dan McCarney Tuesday night.

"The main reason I came back to Iowa was to end up at Iowa State," Toomey told Cyclone Nation shortly after making his commitment. "Coach Mac and the rest of the coaching staff are great guys. I'm really close to them and the whole Cyclone family. I just had to come back and take care of some stuff and eventually end up there."

The 6-foot-2, 230-pounder originally signed with Oklahoma out of West Des Moines Valley High School, but transferred after his redshirt season. He will have three seasons of eligibility remaining and is expected to contribute immediately.

"I think I'll fit in real well on Iowa State's defense and the coaches think so, too," he said. "It should be fun. They're looking at me to start at either MIKE or SAM. I told them that I needed to go somewhere I could play right away, because I don't have much time and need to make the most out of it. They were expecting me to come down there and start. All I have to do is take care of business now."

First and foremost, that business is graduating from Iowa Central after just one year. Toomey is taking 17 hours of classes this fall and will up that total 18 in the spring. The good news is that he's on track to get his A.A. degree without needing summer classes.

The ISU coaching staff wanted to be reassured that was the case before making a scholarship offer to Toomey on Tuesday night.

"I'm doing real well up here," he said. "They were wanting me to make sure I took care of all my classes so I can get there right away and join the program. They're looking at me to start next year for them right away, so I have to take care of all my classes and get out of here in May so I can get down there right away."

On the field, Toomey led Iowa Central to an 8-2 regular season and postseason bowl bid against Grand Rapids (Mich.) this Sunday at the UNI-Dome. He led the Tritons in tackles and received Region 11 defensive player of the year honors in addition to being an all-conference pick.

Toomey says he has taken his game to another level from where it was at Valley in 2000.

"I thought I played really well this season," he said. "I can tell a difference in my speed, size and strength. My style is a lot similar to when I played high school, but I just got a lot faster and stronger."

In addition to the Cyclones, Colorado State, Iowa and Kansas had expressed recruiting interest in Toomey. The Jayhawks currently have three former Oklahoma assistants on board, which made them an intriguing choice. However, remaining in Iowa and signing with ISU won out over other outside factors.

"I'm real comfortable here and it's like family in Ames," he said.

Toomey attended Valley High School in West Des Moines, the same program that current Cyclones Casey Shelton, Joe Woodley, Collin Menard and Brian Lutter. His brother Zac will transfer to ISU in January and walk on to the football team.

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