We are seven days away from National Signing Day, and Iowa State has a solid group of verbal commitments. As of today, the number of high school and JUCO commits sits at 21, and on February 1st, the final tally will more than likely end up around 25 or more. This is shaping up to be one of the best classes in school history.
We are here to walk you through the players that are solid commitments to this program. Under the previous coaching regime, most commits pledged their promise to the school during or after their respective seasons. This coaching staff got to work right away, and hit the ground running.
According to 247Sports, Iowa State’s class ranks sixth in the Big 12 Conference, and 46th overall.
Quarterback (1) - One of the school’s first to commit was in-state product Devon Moore. The 6-foot-4 quarterback is a dual-threat playmaker who passed for 29 touchdowns and ran for five more. He is considered to be a top-10 recruit in Iowa, and hails from Waterloo.
Running Backs (0) – At this time, there are no commitments, and it seems this staff is happy with the collective amount of talent they already have on the roster.
Wide Receivers (2) – Matthew Eaton’s ink has already dried, as he signed as a JUCO out of Pearl River CC. Eaton is a large target, listed at 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds. Josh Johnson is the other commitment, and has been a huge advocate for the Cyclones on social media. He reminds me of Deshaunte Jones, and will play that similar "M" role at ISU, utilizing his speed and elusiveness. The Cyclones have fought off multiple Power 5 schools for Johnson’s services, among them Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Minnesota, NC State and K-State.
Tight End (1) – Charlie Kolar could be a diamond in the rough while he dominated under the Friday night lights. Luckily, ISU gained his pledge in June after an unofficial visit, and since then, the Oklahoma native collected more than 1,120 yards and 11 touchdowns. His 6-foot-6 frame could see playing time next fall.
Offensive Line (5) – One of the biggest areas of concern for this staff has been to bolster the offensive front. So far, they have four high school commitments and Michigan grad transfer David Dawson. USC grad transfer Khaliel Rodgers visited this weekend, and this staff is still looking for 1-2 more high schoolers.
The highest rated lineman is Ames native Colin Newell, who joined this group clear back in April. The most recent verbal is Robert Hudson, who de-committed from Purdue and came over to the good guys last week. Alex Kleinow hails from Iowa City, and Jeff Nogaj from Ohio. All four have huge frames (Hudson is 6-foot-8), and all can play multiple positions amongst the line, which is exactly what mastermind Tom Manning loves.
Defensive Tackles (2) – Two of the biggest targets, coming by way of the JUCO route are Kamilo Tongomoa and Ray Lima. Lima has already signed, while Tongomoa recently visited Oregon last week. JUCO pundits rank both in the top-40 nationally, and will both be called upon for significant roles in 2017.
Defensive Ends (6) - JUCO Matt Leo signed in December, and came to the good guys over Oklahoma. The other gem is Cordarrius Bailey, who was in Ames this weekend, but recently visited Arizona and could visit Louisville. Hold on tight for Bailey’s fax, as the 6-foot-4 prospect is ranked as the 39th best weak-side defensive end in this class. Angel Dominguez is the 44th best strong-side end, and could move inside after a few years in the program.
California native Tucker Robertson committed to Campbell and his cronies a few weeks ago, and Ohioan Dan Sichterman pledged in October. Add in John Nagel, and all three have big frames, with the potential to play multiple spots on the defensive line.
Linebackers (2) – One of the highest rated players in this class, O’Rien Vance, was considered to be a problem qualifying academically. In the last few weeks, those rumors have all but disappeared, and the Cedar Rapids native and top-50 outside linebacker will get his chance to play right away.
The other commit is West Des Moines Dowling star Jake Hummel, who is a top-10 player out of Iowa, and pledged his good graces to ISU clear back in April.
Cornerbacks (3) – Richard Bowens III was so excited to be a Cyclone that he has already enrolled in Ames for spring classes. The 6-foot Michigan native picked ISU over Cincinnati, Iowa and Minnesota.
Two more defensive backs from Florida round out the class – OJ Tucker and Datrone Young. Tucker committed a few weeks ago, and picked the good guys over Mississippi State, Nebraska, Kentucky, and Louisville. He’ll be visiting FAU next weekend. Young picked I-State over Wisconsin.
Headliner of the Class
It has to be Josh Johnson. He has dazzled scouts with his breakaway speed and has been called upon by numerous other schools at the 11th hour.
Players We Can’t Lose
Although Lima has already signed, ISU can not afford to lose the services of Kamilo Tongomoa. Defensive coordinator Jon Heacock is counting on both of these studs to clog up the middle next year, and they will be the core of our defense.
Diamonds in the Rough
Obviously Matt Leo’s name has been named as a potential stalwart at his defensive end position. Nobody is talking about our in-state linebackers Hummel and Vance. The Cyclones desperately need help with speed in the second line of defense, and hopefully both of these guys can make a name for themselves in years to come.
Clearly the focus has been to bolster both lines, as Campbell wants to win from the inside-out. Also, this staff will never turn down more speed in the defensive backfield.
In all, there are 21 solid commitments plus Dawson. A few big names have been lost, most notably Kam White last week. My next article will touch on the remaining targets who have yet to call a college their future home.
Stay tuned – National Signing Day is February 1st.