Coming into the 2017 season, the wide receiver position was expected to be Iowa State’s deepest group in years, possibly ever. With now-Cyclone-legend Allen Lazard leading the way, Hakeem Butler, Trever Ryen, Deshaunte Jones, and new transfer Matthew Eaton were expected to put up big numbers.
Allen Lazard held up his end of the bargain by finishing the season with a career high 71 receptions for 941 yards and 10 touchdowns, a new single school single season record. Along the way, Lazard became the all time leader in receiving yards, and came within five touchdowns of owning every single career receiving record in school history. Simply put, Allen had his best ever season as a Cyclone and capped his career off by finally getting his bowl win. Allen, for everything you’ve done for this school, program, and community, we thank you.
6’6” Hakeem Butler entered his sophomore campaign after a freshmen season where he was able to flash a lot of his ability to make plays all over the field, and use his enormous frame to make catches most receivers couldn’t. In 2018, he became the Cyclones’ second best (maybe best?) deep threat, especially when running seam routes out of the offset tight end/slot position. His combination of size and speed is almost an impossible cover.
Though he dealt with some nagging injuries throughout the season, redshirt senior Trever Ryen proved to be immensely valuable as a sure handed slot receiver capable of busting off big plays in the screen game. His long touchdown catch against Oklahoma turned out to be one of the most important plays of the both the game and the season.
Matt Eaton came to Iowa State as one of the highest ranked JUCO receivers in the country. As all JUCOs do, it took Eaton a few game to get up to the speed of Power 5 football, but by mid-season he became a real threat, especially in the red zone. His two touchdown catches against Texas Tech showed what kind of weapon he can be going forward.
Position MVP: Allen Lazard
Even given Iowa State’s loaded receiver group, the clear MVP is Lazard. As he has throughout his career, Allen consistently made big catches when his team needed him most. Whether it was to convert crucial third downs, two point conversions, or catch deep balls down the field, he did everything anyone could ask of him, all while being the senior leader that every team needs. It’s impossible to understate his contributions to the this season and this program.
Highlight of the Season:
Honestly, this section would be best served to just pick the best highlight from each receiver from each game. Seemingly every single game, someone made a ridiculous play that made everyone declare it as the new best play of the season. So instead, I’ve compiled a whole bunch of highlights for you to enjoy.
This is silly. Allen Lazard will be an interesting draft projection. Not much separation but catches everything in his radius. pic.twitter.com/6E8fL7Pb3s— Ian Wharton (@NFLFilmStudy) November 11, 2017
Allen Lazard is a ball magnet pic.twitter.com/oTLxxadDS5— Barstool ISU (@BarstoolISU) December 30, 2017
Winning the final vote, and officially being named the Top Play of the @CycloneFB regular season is @AllenLazard's game winning touchdown catch from @KyleKempt against Oklahoma!@CycloneFB is back in less than 18 hours for the @AZOLibertyBowl!— Iowa State Athletics (@CycloneATH) December 29, 2017
Here is that TD on a 4th and 1 from Jacob Park to Marchie Murdock! pic.twitter.com/qmtAF4vWdI— Cyclone Football (@CycloneFB) September 3, 2017
Here is that punt return for the TD from Trever Ryen! Huge block from De'Monte Ruth! pic.twitter.com/UpCoQ6ySQb— Cyclone Football (@CycloneFB) October 14, 2017
I know for a fact that I missed a bunch of plays. If you think of some, put it down in the comments.
Breakout Player: Marchie Murdock
After transferring from Illinois before his junior season, Murdock was relatively quiet in 2016. This past season, he came up with big touchdown catches against UNI, Akron, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Kansas State. He became a touchdown machine out of pretty much nowhere. He’s graduated and gone now, but it was great to see a guy like Marchie see success on the field.
Outlook for 2018
Is it possible that Iowa State could lose the best receiver in school history, and actually get better at receiver? Hakeem Butler will surely slide into the X receiver spot vacated by Lazard, and Deshaunte Jones will take Ryen’s spot at the Z. Incoming freshmen Sean Shaw and Carson Schleker. Shaw is all of 6’6”, and will probably slide into Butler’s 2017 role. Schleker is a speedy slot receiver and will surely see plenty of playing time. Matt Eaton will likely be third starting receiver on the outside to give the Cyclones another height advantage. Campbell & Co. will surely run some sets with Butler, Eaton, and Shaw on the field at the same time, giving the Cyclones an absolutely absurd height advantage.
Redshirt freshmen Josh Johnson and Tarique Milton have gotten some buzz from the coaching staff and will likely see some PT. Redshirt sophomore Jalen Martin also saw playing time last year against Oklahoma State and looked promising in his limited action. Point is, Iowa State will be at least as strong at receiver as last season, with the potential to be even better.
Which receiver are you most excited to watch next season?
This poll is closed