Sound the Sirens! We only just got done with spring football and this relentless coaching staff has already filled eight roster spots for the 2017 recruiting class.
Now, this isn't your father's Iowa State recruiting class, nor is it your older sibling's type of recruiting class. This group of 2017 high school seniors who have verbally committed to the Campbell regime currently rank in the top-30 according to 247Sports and Rivals recruiting websites.
And it's only April.
There are dozens of more offers out there, namely a safety who is being recruited by Alabama. No, not Alabama-Birmingham or Alabama A&M. That's right - the defending national champions ALABAMA. Sought-after recruit Kam White drove 12 hours one-way to Ames, IA this past weekend for an unofficial visit, and named the Cyclones as his front-runner.
It's great to see the stars and accolades and stats, but what stands out to me the most are the quotes from the kids. (Courtesy of Scout.com)
"What stood out to me was how supportive everybody involved in the program is, how close-knit they were. Everything they do flows smoothly. There's structure and it's a very warm and welcoming place to be at."
"I knew it was the right place. I've seen the excitement they bring to practice every day, just the progression of the team and everything. I knew it was the right time."
"Everybody around there is just upbeat and joyful. It showed they actually cared and they want me to be there and actually believe in me."
"They've treated me like I'm one of their own and I love that. Family, family, family. Stick through thick and thin together. They're like family."
As you can tell, there has been a huge emphasis on family and the close ties these coaches share together. They don't bullshit around, they're up-front, honest and above all - have a true passion for Iowa State.
As you look at the list of the verbal commits, you will find some from the upper Midwest and a few from right here in the state of Iowa. There has been an emphasis on attaining offensive linemen in this class, and replenishing the linebacking crew.
Here are your eight verbal commits, as of April 22nd, going from earliest to most recent, followed by recruiting videos courtesy of hudl.com.
QB Devon Moore
Moore hails from the eastern side of the state, by way of Waterloo West High, and brings to Ames a passing and running attack along with his 6-foot-4 frame. Moore was held out most of his junior year due to a broken fibula and tibia, but was named to multiple award lists in his sophomore campaign. This 3-star recruit was the first pledge to the 2017 class, and is ranked as the 7th best prospect in Iowa, according to Scout.com.
OLB O'Rien Vance
This heralded recruit is one of the best in the state of Iowa, and was getting heat from elite programs Michigan State, Notre Dame, and Iowa (if you can call them elite), before committing in February to the Clones. Vance comes from Cedar Rapids, and is projected to play the hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker position at the next level, given his versatility, speed and relentless pursuit to make the tackle. He was first team All-State, is a 3-star and is the 35th best outside linebacker in the country, according to Scout.
WR Joshua Johnson
Johnson comes from North Little Rock, Arkansas, and is next in line to play the "M" position we keep hearing about from Campbell and Manning. The 5-foot-11 versatile slasher has the ability to line up anywhere on the field, whether it be in the backfield, slot position, or on the outside. He displays 4.58 speed and has committed to ISU over Indiana, Notre Dame and Kansas State. What brought this speedster to Ames was the program-changing victory over No. 2 Oklahoma State four years ago. He is a 3-star recruit, and is the 2nd best wide receiver out of the state of Arkansas.
OT Colin Newell
This 6-foot-5 Ames native received a phone call from Matt Campbell within days of him being announced as the new football coach. That resonated with Newell, and he knew right away he wanted to stay home. Newell was a target from the Rhoads staff, and this 3-star recruit is projected to play tackle at the next level. He was getting interest from Iowa, Missouri and Florida State, and is ranked as the 16th best tackle in the Midwest.
OL Jeff Nogaj
Continuing with the offensive line, Nogaj is a 320-pound monster that can play any position up front. This Johnstown, Ohio native was a recent target from the Campbell staff at Toledo, and was kept in close contact with O-Line coach Tom Manning. This 3-star recruit is physically imposing with his size, and the staff feels he flew under the radar.
CB Richard Bowens III
Bowens is a lanky and long athlete who is one of the best cover corners in the Midwest. The 3-star recruit from Michigan chose the Cyclones over Minnesota, Syracuse, Cincinnati, and a long list of mid-majors. He likes what he sees with defensive coordinator Jon Heacock's 4-2-5 scheme, and feels he is a perfect fit with his 6-foot frame and versatility. Bowens is ranked as the 37th best corner in the country.
OL Tyler Jost
This 6-foot-6 behemoth pledged his commitment to Iowa State just a week ago, and is the third commitment on the offensive line. Jost hails from Libertyville, Illinois, continuing the pipeline of upper Midwest recruits from this staff. This 3-star has plenty of time to grow into his frame, as he is 265 pounds, and is projected to play the tackle position. Jost is ranked as the top Offensive Tackle recruit in Illinois, and is the 55th best at his position in the country. He is also one helluva scholar, as he had offers from both Harvard and Columbia.
ILB Breydon Boyd
Quite possibly the biggest name in this class is linebacker Breydon Boyd, out of heralded Katy High School in Texas. After visiting in February, and again last week at the Spring Game, Boyd made his commitment, followed by a "laugh and big-ass hug" from Matt Campbell. The 6-foot-4 linebacker is projected to handle the middle of the defense, and is known for his high motor. Boyd is ranked as a 3-star and also the 19th best inside linebacker in the country.
The recruits above are a helluva start to a recruiting class. Campbell and his staff will continue to light the world on fire, as they even got the 2018 class started with a commit yesterday.
So far, you would have to say this class is off to a record start. Look for the continued dominance in the upper Midwest region, with the focus on at least a few more offensive linemen and the defensive backfield. Those are two areas that Campbell will not turn down.
What will make this class shine is if they can get some speed and pass rush ability from the defensive line. Stay tuned... The storm has only just begun.