Iowa State head football coach Paul Rhoads is excited about the future of Cyclone football.
Rhoads and Iowa State had 25 players sign National Letters of Intent, as the Cyclones introduced their future stars on the gridiron this afternoon on National Signing Day.
ISU’s 2015 class features six junior college players – many with the ability to compete right away – and 19 prep players.
“We had a great finish with the class of 2015,” Rhoads said. “In previous years, we pretty much had a full understanding of where we were by the middle of January. With this particular class, we were in a lot of fights in the last two weeks leading up to signing day. We closed in tremendous fashion. We picked up much-needed size, physical explosiveness on both lines, great skill in the backfield and overall numbers that were necessary for success in 2015. The big part of this recruiting class, of course, is the facilities here at Iowa State. The impact that is taking place right now in the south end zone of Jack Trice Stadium is not to be understated.”
The future of ISU football will arrive on campus from nine states. The Cyclones signed seven Iowans in their class, including two of the state’s top offensive linemen in Bryce Meeker and Julian Good-Jones.
ISU’s class features five defensive backs, five defensive linemen, five wide receivers, four offensive linemen, three linebackers, two running backs and one quarterback. Seven preps in the class were ranked in the top 100 nationally by Rivals, ESPN or Scout in their respective positions. Running back Joshua Thomas, who was a top-100 national recruit at his position by Scout, was a second-team All-American by MaxPreps.
One of Rhoads’ biggest assignments in the offseason was to shore up the defensive front. He feels a step was made in the right direction by adding Demond Tucker, the 2013 NJCAA Defensive Player of the Year, at mid-year and picking up letters from Bobby Leath, the 14th-best JC defensive tackle nationally by ESPN, and Seth Nerness, a former 8-man player from Murray (Iowa) who was invited to the International Bowl.
“If you’re going to play defense at any level, it starts up front on the defensive line,” Rhoads said. “Defensive linemen are the hardest position to recruit in all of the country. That’s true for every school. We needed to enhance that group and we did that with this class. We’ve done that in the junior college ranks and we’ve done that with high school players. That gives us a chance for immediate impact in 2015 and allows us to develop that entire position group as we head toward 2016 and 2017.”
Four of these Cyclones enrolled in the spring semester at Iowa State and will participate in spring drills: defensive tackle Tucker, a 6-1, 285-pound junior from Hazlehurst, Miss., offensive lineman Patrick Scoggins, a 6-2, 295-pound junior from Inglewood, Calif., defensive back Jarnor Jones, a 6-3, 205-pound junior from Lithonia, Ga., and Jomal Wiltz, a 5-10, 170-pound junior from Galena Park, Texas.
(release courtesy of Cyclone Athletics)