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2020 Position Recap: Defensive Line

It all starts upfront defensively

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JAN 02 PlayStation Fiesta Bowl - Oregon v Iowa State Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

2020 Recap

The defensive line has been a strong point of the Iowa State defense since the coaching staff made the move to the 3-3-5 defense. 2020 was no different. This group was a major catalyst in making Iowa State one of the top-ranked rushing defenses in the country. The Cyclones were 8th in the country in 2020 allowing only 98.3 yards per game on the ground. In addition, they allowed only 21.4 points per game, ranking 25th in the country.

2020 even saw a couple of Cyclones set some major milestones along the way. JaQuan Bailey became Iowa State’s career sack leader against TCU. Something that was more than a year in the making following an injury in 2019. The man most certainly to break that record, Will McDonald led the nation in sacks with 10.5, which happens to be a season record at Iowa State

2021 Outlook

The Cyclones will have some holes to fill. Suddenly, the Cyclones have a huge void at the nose tackle position. Latrell Bankston made a sudden move to transfer before the bowl game. Joshua Bailey also decided to transfer after graduating this past year. Isaiah Lee appears to be the first man in line to take a crack at replacing both Bankston and Bailey. More than likely we will see Tucker Robertson, J.R. Singleton and newcomer Howard Brown get a chance to make an impact at the nose tackle position.

With JaQuan Bailey gone, Zach Petersen will slide back into the rotation on the defensive line after limited action compared to 2019. Eyioma Uwazurike will use his extra season of eligibility and be back in 2021 as well. His versatility allows John Heacock to play him both inside and outside. Will McDonald may see his role increase as well but his main goal is rushing the passer.