"Originally we were going to have four kids take the trip and (fellow Cyclone commit) Steve Allen was also one of those, but Minnesota received verbal commitments from two linebackers that they were very high on," said Atlantic's Jim Maloney. "So they withdrew Steve's trip. We still have two kids that are going up to visit Minnesota. But I think it will certainly help Iowa State (that Steve's not going to visit Minnesota)."
Asked to classify the level of Owens' current commitment, Maloney said he believes Owens is about as set on ISU as he could possibly be.
"He is going to Minnesota this weekend, but Brandon is still firmly in favor of attending Iowa State and has every intentions of going there," Maloney said. "I still get the feeling he's totally committed to Iowa State and nothing's really changed. I think he saw this as an opportunity to go away with a couple of his friends and get a chance to see what another school has to offer. But I still think he's very sold on Iowa State."
A major reason for Owens deciding to visit the Gophers centered around William T. Dwyer tailback Pete Martinsen's decision to trip there this weekend. Atlantic also has an assistant coach from the state of Minnesota.
"With three of his friends originally going, I think he saw that as an ideal opportunity to go," Maloney said. "Plus the secondary coach at Atlantic is a graduate of Minnesota. All of those combined with the thought of Pete Martinsen going there, it was just something he wanted to go take a look at. Those two have known each other through picture shoots and all-star games."
Although Owens and Allen have technically been committed for several weeks now, the Cyclone coaching staff continues to work hard in their recruitment of both.
"Coach (Marty) Fine was in again this week and he's keeping tabs on them," Maloney said. "He follows up routinely and checks on their grades to make sure they're doing the right things to be set and ready to play. Coach McCarney was down before Christmas break before the contact period ended. He feels good about their commitments and is leaving it in Coach Fine's hands. I think he's doing a fine job."
Academics have also come into question, as both Owens and Allen have yet to attain a qualifying SAT score. The two will take the test Jan. 25 and Maloney said they hoped to know the results within four to six weeks.
"They're really working hard and getting close to what they need," Maloney said. "I would really think they're going to get the test scores to be eligible and ready to play. They're excited about enjoying the Iowa State football program."