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Matt Campbell Reels in the Best Recruiting Class in School History...Again

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Cyclone football is riding an unprecedented wave of momentum.

NCAA Football: Texas Christian at Iowa State Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

After bringing in school-record high recruiting classes in 2017 and 2018, Matt Campbell and his staff have brought in a 2019 class that has reset the bar for Iowa State University. Each of the past three seasons have eclipsed the 180 mark (the only three occurrences in school history) and each has been better than the last, culminating with this season’s 187.94 overall rating, which ranks 43rd in the country and 5th in the Big 12 (just a **tad*** behind Baylor, which sits in the middle of a prime recruiting area).

Undeniably, Cyclone football appears to be entering an unprecedented era of fans being able to drink themselves into oblivion out of joy instead of pain. Unheralded, underrated recruits like Hakeem Butler and David Montgomery have been critical to the program and will continue to be in the future, but recruiting rankings matter, and raising the level of the incoming talent only makes it more likely that those players become productive, high-end Big 12 players by the time they leave Iowa State.

And that’s been easy to see, especially this season when guys like Brock Purdy and Mike Rose made huge impacts on the field, something true freshmen have historically never done on any sort of consistent basis at Iowa State. Enter 2019 guys like Leonard Glass, Darien Porter, Blake Peterson, Breece Hall, and Jirehl Brock (and many others) that will likely have a great chance at getting some playing time next fall in their first seasons in Ames.

Take a look at Iowa State’s recruiting class over last couple decades and see if you notice a trend.

Iowa State Recruiting Classes

Year 24/7 Class Rating Coach
Year 24/7 Class Rating Coach
2002 166.21 McCarney
2003 127.9 McCarney
2004 143.53 McCarney
2005 151.53 McCarney
2006 164.57 McCarney/Chizik
2007 155.95 Chizik
2008 155.47 Chizik/Rhoads
2009 159.69 Rhoads
2010 173.53 Rhoads
2011 153.86 Rhoads
2012 155.41 Rhoads
2013 159.52 Rhoads
2014 171.9 Rhoads
2015 166.5 Rhoads
2016 170.57 Rhoads/Campbell
2017 180.53 Campbell
2018 185.19 Campbell
2019 187.94 Campbell

Aside from the blip in 2002 that was largely due to more a primitive rating system (all 3-stars received a .8333 grade, 4-stars received .9000, etc), from 2003-2014, Iowa State’s recruiting classes had remained largely stagnant in the 150s and near the bottom of the Big 12. The 2014 and 2015 classes were better, and some of those players eventually developed to help transition Matt Campbell to Iowa State and being the renaissance of Iowa State football. Those classes featured guys like Allen Lazard, Jake Campos, Brian Peavy, Sam Seonbuchner, Willie Harvey, Hakeem Butler, Julian Good-Jones, and Marcel Spears (among many others) that paved the way for the successes in 2017 and 2018, and have given Campbell & Co. actual evidence of their culture and vision to sell to high school kids rather than just lip service and a “trust me.”

With the 2017 and 2018 classes already providing some healthy returns thanks to the new redshirt rule, and the unprecedented incoming talent in the class of 2019, Iowa State football looks like it is FINALLY on path of sustainable success.

Later this week, we’ll have recaps of each position group, including player highlights and player comparisons, and we’ll take a guess how we think they’ll fit into the scheme.