If Iowa State had one area of concern on the defensive side of the ball following the 2016 season, it’s the defensive line. Matt Campbell lost a lot of depth with the losses of Demond Tucker and Peirre Aka.
Thankfully, the 2017 class is loaded with help, led by JUCO transfers Kamilo Tongamoa and Ray Lima, who appear to be day one starters.
Kamilo Tongamoa, a 6’5, 320 pound 3-star defensive lineman out of Merced College, is one the top-ranked JUCO players in the nation. Oregon and TCU made a late push for Tongamoa, but Matt Campbell and crew were able to hang on to his commitment, making Tongamoa Iowa State’s highest-ranked recruit.
Kamilo Tongamoa is the prized possession of the 2017, class and is physically ready for action right away. Tongamoa has great size and can play anywhere across the defensive line. He even has the ability to drop back in coverage if needed. Iowa State will use him in a variety of ways to wreak havoc and get to the quarterback.
The only factor working against Tongamoa is that he won’t arrive until summer, so he’ll have to play catch up this summer as he gets acclimated to the team and playbook.
Ray Lima is a 6’3, 310-poud 3-star defensive lineman from El Comino College in California who chose Iowa State over offers from Cal, Arizona and Arizona State. Lima is already enrolled at Iowa State and have a shot at making an instant impact in John Heacock’s defense.
Ray Lima has great size and also possesses the ability to play multiple positions on the defensive line, though he does his best work on the inside plugging up holes and attacking the backfield. He will fit right in with Tongamoa to give Iowa State a formidable defensive line duo.
On occasion, Lima has a tendency to stand straight up and give leverage to the opponent’s offensive line, which Iowa State will not be able to afford against formidable Big 12 opponents. It’s a technique issue, and that can be corrected during spring practices.
2017 Defensive Line Outlook
Kamilo Tongamoa and Ray Lima will join a group of young Cyclones looking to move their way up the depth charte. Vernell Trent will be the only senior on the defensive line and he brings back the most experience, having recorded 11 tackes in 12 games during the 2016 season. JaQuan Bailey will look to build on an impressive freshman season in which we recorded 23 tackles in 12 games while being named an Honorable Mention Freshman All-America by Campus Insiders. JD Waggoner is also expected to return from the shoulder injury that ended his 2016 campaign after seven games.