Jake Campos came to Iowa State in the fall of 2013 as one of the most heralded offensive linemen in the nation.
In time, Cyclones fans knew that Campos would eventually become a starter on the offensive line with his impressive high school accolades.
A native of West Des Moines, Iowa, Campos was rated as the No. 1 prospect out of the state of Iowa in 2013. A four-start recruit by Rivals and unanimous first-team all-state pick, Campos went on to play in the U.S. Army All-American, the annual showcase of the nation’s best prep gridders.
Despite his glowing accolades, earning playing time on the offensive line as a freshman is a rare occurrence.
His time came on Saturday.
In just his second game of his redshirt freshman season, Campos made his first career start at right tackle against Kansas State, going head-to-head against one of the Big 12’s best defensive ends Ryan Mueller.
His head coach Paul Rhoads liked what he saw in Campos’ debut.
“He competed,” Rhoads said. “He really competed hard as a redshirt freshman. He was going against one of the best in the Big 12 and he never backed down from that challenge. He improved from the beginning of the game to the end of the game and never stopped competing throughout the whole process.”
Campos learned he would get his first start on Thursday. With only two days to prepare for a top-20 team, Campos hit the film room and got himself ready.
It was a great experience for the rookie.
“I was nervous, especially the day before,” Campos said. “That first snap was crazy, but after that I started to get into the flow of the game. It was a great feeling to enter Jack Trice Stadium knowing I was going to take the first snap. I have a lot to learn and we have to improve on the line. We have to get mean and nasty in the trenches and get lower than the other guy to push people off the ball.”
The future of ISU’s line looks bright. Only one senior, Tom Farniok, is listed as a starter. His partner on the right side, right guard Daniel Burton, is just a sophomore and in his second season as a starter.
Farniok and Brock Dagel, a junior who has started the last two seasons on the line, were instrumental in helping Campos calm his nerves while offering encouragement.
“Tom was a freshman when he got his first starts,” Campos said. “I asked him before the game about how he felt. He kind of walked me through it. Tom and Dagel were great. Dagel kept coming over to me and saying, ‘just relax, you got this.’ Both of them during the game were saying, ‘relax, you’re okay.’ That really helped.”
(release courtesy of Iowa State Athletics)