One of the many questions on the mind of Cyclone fans as we close out this 2021 football season and head into the offseason is what the team will look like next season, considering the mountain of talent and experience set to move on to the next chapter of their lives. Veteran starters Brock Purdy, Charlie Kolar, Collin Newell, Mike Rose, Jake Hummel, Enyi Uwazurike, Andrew Mevis, Greg Eisworth, and others appear to be headed out the door, along with what we assume will be Breece Hall as he pursues his NFL career (and a handful of transfers). Recruiting has picked up steam and there’s lots of talent on the roster, but the sudden wave of inexperience has many wondering what the ceiling looks like for 2022.
One of the ways you can shore up those uncertainties is by bringing back some veterans, and a few critical Cyclones have announced their intention to come back to Iowa State for another year.
First up was defensive back Anthony Johnson, whose veteran presence will help pave the way for Iowa State’s talented young cornerbacks to succeed as they come of age.
I know my purpose in life and I have faith in God’s plan for me. pic.twitter.com/S1sY6IOG7F— Ant²⁶ (@anthon21johnson) December 8, 2021
The next key returning star is none other than the Iowa State Sack King himself, Will McDonald, whose presence on the defensive line can change entire offensive schemes to account for him, creates huge, momentum-grabbing sacks and turnovers for the defense. It can’t be understated what impact his return will have on the 2022 defense.
Next up is senior WR Xavier Hutchinson, who has been nothing short of spectacular in his two seasons in Ames, leading the team in catches and making the All-Big 12 teams twice. For a young wide receiver group dealing with the departures of Tarique Milton, Joe Scates, and Ezeriah Anderson, having X back to bridge the gap while the underclassmen get their sea legs will be a tremendous boost to not only that room, but to the development of Hunter Dekkers as he takes the reigns of the Iowa State football program.
We’re still waiting on announcements from a few different players (O’Rien Vance and Zack Petersen, for example), but these first three players to announce their intentions to return have already generated a great deal of excitement for 2022 and the future of Cyclone. Stay tuned as we potentially hear more word on intentions to stay or move on from various players in the coming days and weeks.