Special teams is something that has been shaky, to say the least, for many years in Ames at times. This year could be the year we see the Clones succeed in all phases of the game.
The only real big loss for the specials unit is Andrew Mevis. The third-team All-American posted a perfect PAT percentage, 20-23 FG season, 55 touchbacks, and even took over punting duties during the season. Mevis is tied for most made field goals in a season for Iowa State and has the second best field goal percentage in Iowa State history. Mevis made about as big of an impact as a kicker can make in one season. So what now?
Jace Gilbert was ranked in the top 20 at Kohl’s Kicking Camps for the 2022 class. Rumors are saying he is the current favorite to be the starting kicker. Gilbert is a true freshman from Oklahoma.
Another true freshman to watch for is Tyler Perkins. Perkins is from Ohio, and was ranked as the fourth best punter in his class by 247 sports. Kohl’s Kicking Camps ranked him as five-star talent and he was a two-time all-state, all-district and all-conference selection.
Leader of the Pack
The leader of this special teams unit is not a kicker or punter this year. It’s Jalyin Noel. In his freshman year, Noel recorded a top ten yards per return in Cyclone history. He also chalked up five returns for over 30 yards. Noel will most likely handle all of the punt and kick return duties.
Another name worth noting is Blake Clark. Clark has handled holding duties for the Cyclones special teams for three years and is one of the better holders in the country. Gotta give some recognition to him as well. You might remember him from this clip.
Something that is worth note is the addition of John Bonamego as a special teams analyst for the Cyclones. With experience as the special teams coach for six NFL teams prior to joining Iowa State, and experience as the head coach of Central Michigan, Bonamego looks to bring a face lift to this specials unit.
Special teams is an under-appreciated part of the sport and truly has the ability to change outcomes of games and even seasons. A young core in the specials unit could bring some hiccups, but look for this new coach and batch of players to bring an excitement to the Clones special teams in 2022.