Taylor Schrage: It didn't really start until the summer before my junior year. I could tell I was starting to get a few more looks. Coach told me to be looking out for some coaches sending letters, and a little more pressure from people looking at me when I played. I had some expectations there.
During my junior year, I got a few more looks and got scholarships from Iowa State, Iowa and Kansas State. I really enjoyed Iowa State when I went down there for camp. I loved it. That was the first place I went, and the last place.
CN: Did Iowa and Kansas State pick up the pressure after your commitment?
Schrage: After I committed, a few people around here that are fans of other teams, said some things. But after that, everything was done and not much happened after that. I was hoping and expecting that would happen.
CN: Your senior year, one that was hindered greatly by a torn ACL in your right knee, had to be a difficult experience for you.
Schrage: It was real disappointing, tearing my ACL in my senior year and not being able to do what I could usually do from my sophomore and junior seasons. This was the season I was mostly looking forward to than any other season that I played football.
When I found out two weeks into the season that I tore my ACL, I told my dad and coach that there was no way I was going to sit out and not play. Somewhere, there was a way that I could play, so I got a knee brace and played the rest of the season. It wasn't the same, but it was comforting to play the rest of the season with my teammates. But I didn't do quite as well as I wanted to.
For the most part, it might help me out with my attitude, work ethic and not letting me take so much for granted. It makes it real exciting to come down and play football at Iowa State.
CN: Update us on how the rehabilitation process is going since your knee surgery that followed the football season. We hear there's a chance you could play in the Shrine Bowl in August.
Schrage: Right now I'm expecting to play in the Shrine Bowl. I was asked and settled myself back in so I could play. I talked to my doctor that did the surgery and he said I'd be more than ready to play. That was good to hear. The Shrine Bowl (practices) start three or four weeks before two-a-days at Iowa State.
The doctor said he wanted to get me going by April or May. After that, I'll pretty be ready to play. I've been going through a lot of physical therapy and doing a lot of work on my own. I work it out two and half hours every other day. I think I'll be more ready this year than I would have last year.
CN: Once you're cleared in April or May, what's next for you at that point?
Schrage: I just go full force lifting with legs and arms. Right now I'm lifting all arms and starting to do the rehab stuff with my legs. After I get cleared, we've got a program at our skill that is pretty intensive. I'll do everything there and get myself in shape. The doctor said I'll be able to go out for track in March, but it will be a slow progress with that.
Also, I'll probably go down to Iowa State quite a bit this summer and work out with Coach McGettigan. That will be a big help. They know what I can do and can help me get that much better and stronger.
CN: What is your weight currently and where do you envision it come August? Schrage: Before I was injured, I had been looking at around 200 pounds when I got down to Iowa State this fall. But having a couple of weeks off with the injury, I'm already at 201 pounds. So now I'm hoping to be around 210 or 215. I'm at 6-foot-2 right and have grown a half an inch in the last month, so that's good. I don't even feel like I'm 200 at all, but that's what the scale says. That's a blessing if I can be that much when I get down there. I didn't even think I'd be that close by the fall, but am already there.
CN: There was some talk that you could either be a linebacker or safety at Iowa State. What feel are you getting from talking to the coaches?
Schrage: I'm going to do whatever the coaches want me to do, but outside linebacker with Coach (DeMontie) Cross is what the most talk has been about me playing. Safety would be exciting to play, being back there and seeing everything. But outside linebacker has a lot more crunch to it and you've got a lot more big boys sitting in front of you. That would be a big challenge and I'd love to step up to it.
CN: This was a big year for in-state recruiting at ISU. What did it mean to you to be a part of something special that Dan McCarney's building?
Schrage: That's where it starts, is the state of Iowa. I looked at Iowa State in the future and think every other recruit in the state kind of looked at the same thing. Iowa State's heading in the right direction. The more recruits that started to commit to Iowa State, the more other recruits wanted to commit.
All of us that signed all know each other and are pretty good friends. I've talked to almost every single one that signed from inside the state. We're starting something out and hopefully the classes will see that we're starting something big.
CN: Are you going to be the next in a long line of Aplington-Parkersburg grads to go on to bigger and better things?
Schrage: One of the goals in high school is to get to college and be a scholarship player. I love the game and it burns inside of me. Hopefully, one of my goals is to do what (the NFL guys) did. I know Coach (Ed) Thomas is real excited about it and the opportunities that are out there. I just try to take it step by step. I'm just starting to get into college. Maybe two or three years down the road I'll be able to tell a little what my (NFL) chances are.
CN: Last but not least, what did it mean to grace the cover of Cyclone Nation's very first football recruiting magazine?
Schrage: (Laughing) One day I was just clicking through the internet and came across Cyclone Nation, and boom, it popped up. I was about ready to have a heart attack. I was excited about it. Our librarians at school got a hold of that and blew it up and posted it on the glass in our library. I think they've got a couple copies and have ordered Cyclone Nation. It's getting into A-P now.