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Top 50 Greatest Iowa State Football Players: 10-6

We have reached the top ten!

Iowa State v Kansas Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

The top ten is finally upon us! We have seen a lot of great Cyclones over the past few weeks, and now the list keeps getting stronger and stronger. This week has a ton of offensive firepower, coupled with one of the all time greats on the Cyclone defense. We’re just a little over a week from the Northern Iowa game, and that means the top five will be released next week. Before that happens, let’s take a look at the top ten!

10. Kelechi Osemele (2008-2011)


Kelechi Osemele had offers from Houston, Missouri, Rice, TCU and UTEP as a three star prospect (Rivals) from Langham Creek, but chose to come to Ames to play for Paul Rhoads.

Osemele was a huge presence, coming in at 6’6” 347 pounds as a senior at Iowa State, and appeared in every game in his career.

The co-captain, who’d finish with 44 consecutive starts, was honored by both the media and coaches as a First Team Big-12 Player in his senior season in 2011. Sports Illustrated tabbed him as a First-Team All-American, the first one for Iowa State since #27 on this list, Ben Bruns.

Kelechi was projected as a first round NFL Draft pick by many websites, but by some act of clownery in the NFL, he slid to the second round where the Ravens picked him up. Kelechi became a Super Bowl Champion with the Ravens, while also cementing himself as one of the best interior lineman in the NFL. After a quick pit stop in Oakland, Kelechi is now a member of the New York Jets.

Super Bowl XLVII - Baltimore Ravens v San Francisco 49ers
Kelechi Osemele #72 of the Baltimore Ravens stretches during the blackout during Super Bowl XLVII against the San Francisco 49ers on February 3, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Photo by Rob Tringali/SportsChrome/Getty Images

9. Matt Blair (1971-1973)

“I remember Coach Majors and some of his assistants came down to recruit me and for some reason wanted to play me and a bunch of guys in basketball,” Blair said. “It was their way to get to know me. I thought it was pretty cool. It was something I’d never heard of.”

As it turns out, that basketball may have helped Blair earn a portion of his scholarship. He was only able to earn partial football scholarship at Iowa State, so the other half was actually fulfilled by a partial basketball scholarship.

Named the most outstanding defensive player in the 1971 Sun Bowl, Blair intercepted a pass, assisted on ten tackles and had 18 of his own against Louisiana State.

Blair was an All-American in 1973 after missing the entire 1972 season because of a preseason knee injury.

Super Bowl XI - Oakland Raiders v Minnesota Vikings
Clarence Davis #28 of the Oakland Raiders carries the ball pursued by Matt Blair #59 of the Minnesota Vikings during Super Bowl XI on January 9, 1977 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. The Raiders won the Super Bowl 32 -14.

While a member of the Vikings, he was selected to six Pro Bowls and played in two Super Bowls. Additionally, Blair is the Minnesota Vikings record holder for most blocked kicks in a career with twenty blocks. Arguably the best “Blair” to ever play for Minnesota.

Iowa State Hall of Fame Class of 1999.

8. Todd Blythe (2004-2007)

Todd Blythe is one of the best receivers in Iowa State history, and is still beloved by the younger Cyclone fans that grew up watching him. Blythe started all 45 games during his career at Iowa State, and holds the school career record for receiving touchdowns with 31. He was recently passed by Allen Lazard for career receiving yards, and is currently second on the list with 3,096 yards. The only player with more receptions than his 171 is, again, Allen Lazard.

Blythe teamed up with Bret Meyer to create a dynamic duo on the offensive side of the ball for the Cyclones. The two gave Iowa State fans many highlights to remember for the rest of their lives. Most best performance came in 2005 against Texas A&M, when Blythe caught 4 touchdowns in a record-setting performance with Bret Meyer. Blythe played briefly in the NFL and CFL after his days in Ames.

7. Hakeem Butler (2015-2018)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 03 Iowa State at Kansas Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Hakeem Butler was a diamond in the rough for Iowa State. The big play receiver was hardly recruited out of high school and Iowa State gave him a shot almost immediately after seeing him play. All Butler did was make big catch after big catch and became one of college football’s best receivers before leaving for the NFL.

Butler finished his Iowa State career with 110 receptions, 2,149 receiving yards, and 18 touchdowns. His best season came last year with 60 receptions, 1,318 yards and 9 touchdowns as he helped Brock Purdy blossom into one of the best freshman QBs in the country. Butler was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the 4th round of 2019 NFL draft.

6. Bret Meyer (2004-2007)

Iowa State Cyclones v Texas Longhorns Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The pride of Atlantic, Iowa, Bret Meyer planted his name amongst the all-time greats in Iowa State history. Meyer was a three year captain and four year starter at Iowa State. He led Iowa State to two bowl games in 2004 and 2005. During the 2004 Independence Bowl, Meyer threw for 144 yards and rushed for 122 yards and was named MVP.

Meyer holds the school record for passing yards with 9,499 yards and touchdown passes with 50. He also holds two of the single-season bests in passing yards and tied for 8th in single-game passing yards with 371 against Texas A&M in 2005. Meyer and the Cyclones struggled in Dan McCarney’s final season and Gene Chizik’s first year in Ames, but that doesn’t keep him from being one of the top quarterbacks in program history.

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


30. Austen Arnaud

29. Brian Peavy

28. Leonard Johnson

27. Ben Bruns

26. Luther Blue


25. Blaise Bryant

24. Chris Washington

23. Ed Bock

22. Ennis Haywood

21. Darren Davis


20. Keith Sims

19. Dexter Green

18. Dwayne Crutchfield

17. Lane Danielson

16. Reggie Hayward


15. Jake Knott

14. Sage Rosenfels

13. Joel Lanning

12. A.J. Klein

11. Ellis Hobbs III