We have finally entered the top 30 of the Top 50 Greatest Cyclone Football players. We’re going to get into a lot of fan favorites and the debates will start ramping up. This week, two cornerbacks that were great defending the opposing teams best receivers week in and week out. Let’s take a look at this week’s list as we move one more week closer to the season opener.
30. Austen Arnaud (2007-2010)
The hometown hero Austen Arnaud was a pivotal quarterback to Paul Rhoads’ success early on. He may not get the same name recognition as some of the other quarterbacks that are still to come on this list, but he will remain as one of Iowa State’s greatest.
Arnaud is in the top three in career passing yards and touchdown passes for Iowa State. In four seasons for the Cyclones, Arnaud passed for 6,777 yards and 42 total passing touchdowns. Arnaud would only play in one bowl game during his time as a Cyclone, the 2009 Insight.com Bowl in which totaled 216 yards passing and 76 yards rushing.
29. Brian Peavy (2014-2018)
As one of the smallest cornerbacks in college football, Brian Peavy made his name in being one of the most disruptive. Peavy would start as a redshirt freshman, making an immediate impact as an honorable mention All-Big 12 cornerback. Peavy lead the Cyclones in tackles with 82 and interceptions with 2 as a redshirt freshman. Peavy was once again named honorable mention All-Big 12 in 2016, and he switch to a whole new gear for the 2017 season.
As one of the nation’s best corners, Peavy ranked third on the team in tackles with 88, and led the team in passes defended with 11. His efforts helped lead a complete defensive transformation under Jon Heacock. In 2018, Peavy played with a pectoral injury that could have sidelined him for the entire season. Instead, he started all 13 games recording 57 tackles while led the team in pass breakups and forced fumbles.
28. Leonard Johnson (2008-2011)
The second great cornerback in a row brings us to Leonard Johnson, one of the most underrated players at his position during both his college and NFL careers. Leonard was often matched up against the team’s best receiver, best exemplified by his performance against Justin Blackmon down the stretch to help Iowa State score the upset over #2 Oklahoma State in 2011.
Johnson finished his Cyclone career with 241 total tackles and 6 interceptions. During his senior season he was named second team All-Big 12, recording 68 tackles, seven pass breakups, three fumble recoveries, and the big interception during the upset of Oklahoma State that season. After his days in Ames, Johnson made some big plays in the NFL for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before bouncing around to a few other teams across the league.
27. Ben Bruns (1997-2000)
Ben Bruns was a man amongst boys during his time on the offensive line. Bruns started 37 career games and blocked for a 1,000-yard rusher in each season as a Cyclone. The Iowa State offensive line ranked second nationally, allowing only seven sacks during the 2000 season. Bruns led the charge as the captain of the offensive line, and was named as a 3rd team All American that season. Currently, Bruns is the sideline reporter for Iowa State football on the Cyclone Radio Network.
26. Luther Blue (1974-1976)
Luther Blue was a speedster for Iowa State from 1974-1976, still holding the season and career kickoff return average record. In 1976, he returned a kick 95 yards for a score in the first quarter to make the ISU margin 17-7. ISU would go on to beat #9 Nebraska 37-28.
Professionally (4th Round, 96th Overall in 1977 NFL Draft), Luther played stateside and abroad with the Eagles, Lions and Toronto Argonauts.
1978 was his best statistical season, where he started 15 of 16 games, snagging 31 passes for 350 yards and two touchdowns for the Lions
Iowa State inducted him into their Hall of Fame in 2007.
Top 50 Greatest Cyclone Football Players of All Time recap:
50. David Hoppmann
49. Jim Doran
48. Brent Curvey
47. Tim Dobbins
46. Jason Berryman
45. Mike Busch
44. Jack Trice
43. LaMarcus Hicks
42. JaQuan Bailey
41. Tom Randall
40. Stevie Hicks
39. Alvin “Ace” Bowen
38. Nik Moser
37. Alexander Robinson
36. Ray Lima
35. J.J. Moses
34. Tracey Henderson
33. David Archer
32. E.J. Bibbs
31. Cole Netten