If there is one position that Campbell has an infatuation for – it’s defensive backs. Seeing the need for speed on the field (especially in Big 12), Coach Campbell has focused on getting “his type” of playmakers in the defensive backfield. That means taller than average corners, hard hitting safeties, and d-backs that can play multiple positions.
If there is one area of depth on this roster, it’s in the secondary. Led by two all-conference performers in Kamari Cotton-Moya and Brian Peavy (snubbed from first team...I’m not bitter), this ISU back end will lose three significant contributors, but will also have a lot of underclassmen who have seen the field a plenty.
Here are the players that have fulfilled their eligibility at Iowa State:
Kamari Cotton-Moya, Reggie Wilkerson, Evrett Edwards, Mackenro Alexander
And here are some up and comers to watch for in spring ball to fill those voids:
Aaron Austin, Lawrence White, Arnold Azunna, De’Monte Ruth, Braxton Lewis, Keontae Jones, Richard Bowens III, and incoming JUCO Greg Eisworth
It never hurts to have more speed on the field, and that is exactly what the doctor ordered for 2018 and years to come.
Iowa State continued its dominance on defense with an impressive output by its secondary. In all, they were ranked 2nd in the Big 12 in pass defense, and fifth in interceptions.
They did this in a multitude of ways – pressing on the outside with tough man coverage by their proficient cover corners D’Andre Payne and Brian Peavy, and with efficient zone coverage with an extra (and sometimes two) defensive backs in a blanket cover-3 or cover-4 look.
Jon Heacock and company disguised his tendencies with a wide array of packages, but none was as effective as the 3-man front and 3-safety look.
Needless to say, Iowa State had a fantastic year in the Big 12, especially when it went up against the cream of the crop of passers in the country, and held their own.
Position MVP: Brian Peavy
I don't know if I've ever actually tweeted this, but I will now. @CycloneFB CB Brian Peavy is the best CB in the Big 12, and one of the best in the entire country. Look at these numbers against Big 12 receivers that he's covered for at least 3 snaps this season. Unbelievable. pic.twitter.com/DSfW7cfuh6— Bryson Vesnaver (@PFF_Bryson) November 21, 2017
The Big 12 coaches should be ashamed of themselves for not voting this man first team in the Big 12 Conference. Peavy had another fantastic year, and was almost always responsible for the opponent’s best receiver. Already overlooked because of his 5-foot-10 height, Peavy made up for it with his closing speed and leaping ability to knock down passes. In fact, he was top-10 in the conference in passes defended.
Peavy just announced last week that he decided to forgo the NFL draft and will be back for his senior season. That is a win for the good guys!
Highlight of Season:
Where do I start? There are so many to choose from. I am just going to put these all out there, starting with my favorite – Payne’s pick against WVU.
He Could Go All The.... Ugh
How is that to start the season says Kamari My Middle Name is Pick-Six Cotton-Moya
Or Reggie Wilkerson’s Sealing INT vs Baylor
Outlook for 2018
As mentioned above there is a ton of talent waiting in the wings, and the Cyclones return two of the best cover corners in the game in D’Andre Payne and Brian Peavy.
Look for Greg Eisworth to be the front-runner for the strong safety spot. He has already enrolled, and will benefit greatly with the strength staff and extra practices in spring ball. The other safety spot is up for grabs, but I see a hard fought battle between Braxton Lewis and Lawrence White. Both held their own when KCM and Edwards were ruled ineligible for the bowl game.
The other nickel spot is tailor-made for my main man Keontae Jones (brother to Deshaunte Jones). Look for Aaron Austin and De’Monte Ruth to both give the sophomore a run for his money.
Either way, this defensive backfield is flush with young talent, speed, length and a desire to keep “Raising the Standard.”