To appreciate the good things, it often starts with remembering bad things. So let me take you back to the 2019 CyHawk game. A game where Eisworth had 15 tackles by the way, in the final minutes of the 4th quarter. A deflating muffed punt, brought on by friendly fire sealed the victory for the Hawkeyes. Tarique Milton would miss quite a few games with injury, and we needed a new punt returner.
Greg Eisworth’s greatest accomplishments won’t be remembered coming from special teams. I’m not sure if Eisworth ever returned a punt for more than 10 yards. But after a catastrophe, you could count on Greg Eisworth, and you could trust him to make the right decision with gunners going full speed for him.
Any other punt returner given the task after the Cy-Hawk debacle would make most Iowa State fans would be watching punt returns through the cracks of their fingers out of fear. Given the pessimistic nature of most Cyclone fans, and being prisoners of the moment, why wouldn’t we expect every punt return to go horribly wrong after that? Because you can trust Greg Eisworth, and he didn’t fail that trust.
That trust defined his career. The trust for him to show up, start, and play at an elite level every game for his entire career. Seeing everything from a bird’s eye view, making a play on a deep pass, or stuffing the running back after they see a glimmer of daylight. You could trust Eisworth.
We’ve come to know Greg Eisworth as the steady heartbeat in this defense and was a major facet in what made Heacock’s 3-3-5 defense so effective. In Eisworth’s first year, he won the 2018 Big 12 defensive newcomer of the year. He lead the team in tackles per game during his first season for the Cyclones. In his first year, he made the First Team in All Big 12 Defense, and Eisworth was just getting started.
Eisworth would make First Team All Big 12 once again in 2019, this time as a co-captain. He tallied 10 pass deflections. Eisworth seems to play best against the best competition in the biggest games. He had a career-high in tackles against Iowa with College Gameday in town, and then had three pass deflections against Kyler Murray when the Cyclones played Oklahoma.
Eisworth would become the only Cyclone to ever be First Team All-Big 12 three years in a row since the conference began in 1996. His trajectory of fewer tackles, but more pass coverages began to grow. He’s never been a ballhawk, but he’s always been a sure tackler in the open field, and is often in the right place at the right time.
Going into senior day against TCU, or for Eisworth, super senior day, he’s recorded 249 career tackles, 22 pass breakups, and 4 interceptions, and very well could be the first and only Cyclone to make the First Team All-Big 12 Defensive team four consecutive years while also starting 47 consecutive games for Iowa State.
The definition of dependability and consistency. He played and started every game he could for the Cyclones as captain on the field, and an unquestionable leader in the secondary since day one.
Eisworth didn’t have a straight-arrow path to success, as most usually don’t. He originally committed to Ole Miss as a four-star recruit out of high school. He’d end up spending a year at Trinity Valley Community College before he made his mark here in Ames, Iowa.
In the most successful run of Iowa State football history, Eisworth has been behind it all. Both literally in the back of the formation, and figuratively. The Process doesn’t exist without guys like him; selfless players who put team above self. And for four years, 47 games later, and a hell of a career to show for it.
Thank you, Greg Eisworth.