Just last week we saw Iowa State play its final basketball game of the season. Now it's on to bigger and better things - like football right? I don't know about you, but this young and energetic staff is making me get that warm fuzzy feeling in my stomach, and it's only March 30th.
Today, we are going to go through some of the bigger (and smaller) news stories since we last left off with National Signing Day, just less than two months ago.
Coach Campbell announced in his first spring press conference that he will not release a depth chart. He is in the process of evaluating talent, and then will mold his packages and formations around the depth and talent he has at those positions. This staff is inviting back former Cyclone football stars to Ames to play and/or coach in the spring game, and it should be exciting to see some of those former studs on April 16th (1 p.m., Jack Trice Stadium, free admission).
Every team has attrition, but ISU's losses on the offensive line continue to sting, and this year is no different. Quite possibly the best lineman on the roster, Daniel Burton, will receive his undergraduate degree in May and not return to the team in 2016. To add more fuel to the fire, backup Jacob Dunning also decided to not come back next year due to a plethora of injuries in his playing career.
Two more experienced players that were hurt by injuries also decided to hang it up, and they were also major contributors at the same position - linebacker. Luke Knott and Levi Peters have ended their careers, and Peters' leadership will be the biggest void to fill next season.
Running back Joshua Thomas and wide receiver D'Vario Montgomery left with unanswered questions very similar to the departures of Tad Ecby and Devondrick Nealy last year, and inevitably around the same time. Let's hope that isn't an annual thing here in Cyclone country.
Early Semester JUCO Arrivals
What has been an absolutely huge advantage for the JUCO transfers at ISU has been their ability to participate in spring practice and join the program early. This crop of JUCO signees are all on campus, and will be called upon to crack the two-deep come fall. Names like Thadd Daniels, who can step into the starting strong safety role, cornerback D'Andre Payne who will vie for snaps across from Nigel Tribune, and tight end Clifford Fernandez will all benefit from the extra 15 days of practice.
Tyler Catalina, AKA the Catalina Line Fixer, would have made a fine starting left tackle at Iowa State next year, but he and his brother decided to partake in as many booze-filled, fraternity-partying recruiting visits to other schools as possible (I'm just speculating - maybe). At the end of the day, he chose Georgia over the good guys. God speed, Catalina, we would have had one helluva shirt for you here at WRNL.
Other Offseason News
To add to the lack of depth on the offensive line, tackle Jake Campos will sit out spring practice while he recovers from offseason hip surgery. Defensive end Mitchell Meyers has made the courageous comeback to the program, after sitting out last year fighting Hodgkin's lymphoma, and Trever Ryen has made the switch from RB to WR on the roster.
Satellite Camp with Jim Harbaugh
You read that right - Coach Campbell is teaming up with the coach from Michigan whose manhood is never too big to swing around college football hallways. Both coaches will contribute to a camp tailored for high school athletes, from sophomores to seniors. The camp will run on June 13th, will be located in Addison, Texas, and will be hosted by Dallas Showtyme Elite Football. Campbell commented on the camp, "We're going to continue to find unique ways for us to get to certain areas that maybe are outside our own radius, and how we can get the most value for us and our football program."
Damn, that is awesome.
I harped on the Rhoads regime to show some sort of a semblance in the Twitter and social media age, and boy we couldn't see more of a night and day difference between this staff and last. ISU even hired a Director of New Media for Christ's sake. This just get me giddy, as you can see by the tweets below
Practice 6 and these two Culture Changing Clones continue to impress! #Chasing Greatness #TeamAboveSelf pic.twitter.com/5ylHuZQYHi— Matt Campbell (@ISUMattCampbell) March 25, 2016
Good luck to the MBB team tonight. Hilton East will be rocking tonight!!! #cyclonePOWER pic.twitter.com/XQbi1iG1Lv— Matt Campbell (@ISUMattCampbell) March 25, 2016
Obviously there's a lot of information to take in. Soon, we will touch base on the strengths, tendencies, formations, and system of the Matt Campbell era and what this future ISU football team will look like on the field in 2016.
Stay tuned in the next few weeks for more football coverage.