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Iowa State Spring Football Preview

Courtesy: cyclones.com
Release: 03/10/2014
         
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AMES, Iowa - Iowa State starts spring practice this week to officially begin the 2014 season. Iowa State's spring game will be held April 12.

The Cyclones return 11 starters on offense and six starters on defense. Head coach Paul Rhoads broke down each position in this spring football preview.

Quarterbacks

Synopsis
This is a position with zero attrition. Iowa State returns every scholarship quarterback on its roster from 2014, including Sam B. Richardson (6-2, 223, Jr.#, Winter Park, Fla.) and Grant Rohach (6-1, 224, So.#, Moorpark, Calif.), who split starts last year. Redshirt freshmen Joel Lanning (6-2, 236, Fr.#, Ankeny, Iowa) and Trevor Hodge (6-0, 198, Fr.#, Perris, Calif.) will also get their chance to showcase their skills in spring drills.

Richardson was the No. 1 QB in spring practice and fall camp of 2013 after starting the final two games of the 2012 campaign. Richardson, who started the first eight games last year, began strong, throwing for over 240 yards in the first four contests. Injuries, however, plagued Richardson’s performance all season. With Richardson banged up, the Cyclones opted to ride the arm of Rohach for the final four games.

Rohach started slow, but was impressive in the final two games of the year, throwing for over 300 yards vs. Kansas and West Virginia, both Cyclone victories. He became the only Cyclone rookie QB in school history to record a pair of 300-yard passing games. He set career highs in completions (25), passing yards (331) and TDs vs. West Virginia, earning Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week honors and aiding ISU to its largest come-from-behind victory (24 points) in school history.

Rhoads On The Quarterbacks
“A phrase I threw out there on National Signing Day was, ‘You let the competition begin.’ I really feel that way and I’m excited about our competition at QB. There’s no position that needs competition like the QB position. If you’re going to get the best play, you got to have people compete and this position is going to get that opportunity. They’re going to be under new eyes in Todd Sturdy as he moves from wide receivers coach to a position he has coached for a long time. He will not have the burden of coordinator to go along with the position, so he really gets to focus on the development physically and mentally with these kids. Grant Rohach and Sam Richardson both have proven starts and both have won in the league. That experience is important to them. I think they’re going to be not only another year smarter, but going to become even more intelligent as we install this offensive system. I think both Joel Lanning and Trevor Hodge have the tools to throw their names into the ring, so to speak. The biggest transition going from a freshman to a redshirt freshman is you’re no longer running plays off of cards, which scout team players do. They know exactly what it is they’re supposed to do, they’re told where to throw it and they really don’t have any decisions to make. That’s the biggest transition you’ll see those two having to go through this spring. I don’t know if it’s a four-man race, but all four players will have an opportunity to show their stuff this spring.”

Tight Ends

Synopsis
Another position with outstanding weapons returning, including second-team All-Big 12 pick E.J. Bibbs (6-3, 261, Sr., Chicago, Ill.). A junior college transfer, Bibbs had a breakout 2013 campaign and Rhoads feels he could compete for All-America honors in 2014.

Bibbs was second on the team in catches (39) and receiving yards (462) and was the only Cyclone to catch multiple passes in all 12 games. Bibbs’ 39 grabs was the second-best total by a Cyclone tight end in school history and it ranked 13th nationally among FBS tight ends in 2013.

Bibbs will have help from Ben Boesen (6-6, 238, Jr.#, Des Moines, Iowa). Boesen was injured throughout most of the 2013 campaign, playing in eight games and catching two passes. Boesen will certainly be an important part of ISU’s offense in 2014.

Also look for Alex Leslie (6-5, 244, Fr.#, New Braunfels, Texas), who is coming off a redshirt as a rookie, and Quan West (6-4, 238, So.#, Willis, Texas), who moved to tight end from wide receiver in the middle of the 2013 season, to see snaps at tight end in 2014.

Rhoads On The Tight Ends
“We feel very excited about our tight end position and E.J. Bibbs specifically. There’s no doubt in my mind that he is an All-American candidate at the position and he’s a future NFL player. Going into his second off-season in spring ball will be invaluable to his development and progression physically. Learning the nuances of a new offense will be critical to his progress as a TE also. We believe that the depth at the position is good. Ben Boesen gives us a quality player that’s extremely accountable. Alex Leslie comes off a redshirt season and has shown the ability to catch anything in his direction. This off-season will be important in his toughness both in a physical and mental standpoint. Quan West is growing as we anticipated from the recruiting process. He gives us another big, athletic body.”

Running Backs

Synopsis
Iowa State lost seniors Shontrelle Johnson, James White and Jeff Woody at the running back position, but with the return of Aaron Wimberly (5-9, 174, Sr., Snellville, Ga.) and DeVondrick Nealy (5-10, 190, Jr.#, Monticello, Fla.), there is experience and talent coming back.

Wimberly led the Cyclones in rushing in 2013 (567 yards) despite missing two games and playing with a number of injuries. When healthy, Wimberly is a serious threat out of the backfield whether running or catching. He caught 18 passes for 211 yards and posted back-to-back 100-yard rushing games vs. Tulsa (137) and Texas (117).

Nealy carried the ball 41 times for 158 yards in his first season of significant playing time. He led the Cyclones in rushing vs. Kansas State (53 yards) and became the first Cyclone since 1963 to score a touchdown in three different ways (KOR, Rec., Rush). He returned a kickoff 98 yards for a TD vs. TCU, the second-longest KO return in ISU history.

Other running backs in ISU’s arsenal are Rob Standard (5-10, 213, Jr.#, St. Louis, Mo.) and Tyler Brown (5-10, 179, Fr.#, Lakeland, Fla.).

Rhoads On The Running Backs
“You work hard to develop durability at all positions but possibly it’s most important at the running back position because they take the biggest amount of hits, unprotected hits. We’re trying to get Aaron Wimberly bigger and stronger to be able to do that. For a guy that is 175 pounds, he runs like he’s 225 pounds. He does not back away from contact. He’ll drop a shoulder and he’s very explosive when he delivers those blows. We got to get him at a point where he can handle that. DeVondrick Nealy really finished 2013 strong, not just as a returner, but also in the backfield as a runner and as a pass catcher. It will be exciting for him to get his assignments down and mature in that regard, but these are two very dangerous backs and both capable of being productive at the Big 12 level. Rob Standard returns and gives us that bigger body in the backfield that we always have to have. Tyler Brown, quite honestly, hits top speed faster of the four, and that’s a mouthful knowing how fast Aaron Wimberly is. It will be an exciting group to watch this spring.”

Wide Receivers

Synopsis
Locked and loaded. It’s the appropriate term to describe the Cyclone receiving corps in 2014. Of the 144 receptions by Cyclone receivers in 2013, ISU returns wideouts with 105 of those catches.

The only losses the Cyclones suffer at receiver are Justin Coleman and Albert Gary.

The leader of the pack is Quenton Bundrage (6-2, 191, Jr.#, Palmetto, Fla.). Bundrage emerged as ISU’s big-play receiver in 2013, leading the team in catches (48), receiving yards (676) and TDs (9). His nine TD grabs tied the single-season school record and ranked third in the Big 12.

Bundrage, who had three multi-TD catch games, showed the ability to break off the big play with three 60+-yard scoring plays, including a 97-yard TD catch vs. Texas, the longest pass play in ISU history.

Don’t forget about Jarvis West (5-7, 177, Sr.#, St. Petersburg, Fla.), Tad Ecby (6-0, 203, Jr.#, Houston, Texas) and Dondre Daley (6-1, 191, So.#, Tarpon Springs, Fla.). All three started last season and produced outstanding moments.

West was having his best season as a Cyclone until suffering a knee injury vs. Oklahoma State. He caught 15 passes for 105 yards and returned ISU’s first non-onside kickoff return for a TD since 1994 against Texas Tech. Ecby was third on the team in receptions (22) and receiving yards (233) and Daley caught 13 passes for 127 yards.

P.J. Harris (6-1, 160, So.#, Groveland, Fla.), who caught seven passes last year, and D’Vario Montgomery (6-5, 200, So.#, Winter Park, Fla.) will also look to contribute at the wideout spot in 2014. Montgomery sat out last season after transferring from USF. He was ranked in Rivals’ national top-150 in the class of 2012.

Rhoads also likes Bryan Ajumobi (6-1, 204, Fr.#, Grand Prairie, Texas), Brandon Harris (6-0, 178, Fr.#, Cedar Hill, Texas) and Damein Lawry (5-10, 169, So.#, Dallas, Texas).

Rhoads On The Wide Receivers
“We’ve got a lot of talent. It’s probably our deepest and most talented position. We certainly can go beyond the two-deep in guys we think we can put on the field and win with. And I think you’re going to see that. I don’t think you’re going to see just three and four guys playing, but more like six or more guys playing.”

“The senior that will lead the unit is Jarvis West. We probably felt Jarvis’ injury as much as anybody’s last season. When we lost him we really lost a weapon, both as a receiver and special teams performer. Jarvis comes back for his senior year and right now is at full strength. He can do a lot of things with the ball in his hands. Quenton Bundrage will probably be the most talked about, and deservedly so. He had a productive sophomore campaign with a number of touchdowns and a lot of plays that were left out there. That’s what we got to get Q to focus on is making every catch. He makes the tough catch, but we need him to make all the simple catches as well, and sometimes that involves a little more concentration which he is very capable of. All these guys we want to become better blockers at the same time they’re pass catchers. I think the recognition that Quenton will get will be well deserved and we all welcome that burden that comes with that.”

Dondre Daley, P.J. Harris and Tad Ecby are all guys that got minutes in and got plays in a year ago. That’s invaluable when it comes to their growth. That freshman year sometimes is a real eye-opener and I think it was for P.J. and Dondre. Tad is maybe the most physical and strongest of the WR corps and that’s important. He’s a big play threat who’s very good with the ball in his hands.“

Bryan Ajumobi comes off his true freshman year and he’s pushing 225 pounds and that presence physically is hard to defend as a defensive back whether it is corner or safety. Brandon Harris is a guy who brings size to the position as well. As we started last season, we were considering bringing in a junior college WR. We got that and more when D’Vario Montgomery decided to transfer. We got him here in the fall and he has three years of eligibility remaining, so he was a big pickup for us. Another guy we will look at is Damein Lawry.”

Offensive Line

Synopsis
The bad news. There wasn’t a position that suffered more injuries than the Iowa State offensive line in 2013. A total of 10 different offensive lineman started a game in the trenches last year with six missing a game because of an injury. These consequences made Iowa State experiment with nine different offensive line combinations in 12 games.

The good news. Iowa State’s young offensive line gained valuable experience in 2013 and return virtually every player at the position. Of the 60 starts made by ISU offensive linemen in 2013, the Cyclones return eight players who combined to make 56 of those starts. The Cyclones lead the Big 12 with 86 career starts on the offensive line returning.
The 2014 line will no doubt be anchored by seniors Tom Farniok (6-4, 300, Sr.#, Sioux Falls, S.D.) and Jacob Gannon (6-7, 301, Sr.#, Iowa City, Iowa). Farniok, a two-time honorable mention All-Big 12 selection, enters his fourth season as ISU’s starting center. With a team-high 35 career starts returning, his leadership will be invaluable.

Gannon, who started eight games in 2013 before an injury sidelined him, has started at least one game in each of the last three seasons. Rhoads is looking for great things out of the tackle in 2014.

Four other linemen return who started over half of the games last season in guard Jamison Lalk (6-6, 303, Jr.#, Council Bluffs, Iowa), guard Oni Omoile (6-3, 297, Jr.#, Coppell, Texas), guard Daniel Burton (6-5, 320, So.#, Oklahoma City, Okla.) and tackle Brock Dagel (6-8, 303, Jr.#, Cherokee, Iowa).

Center Ben Loth (6-6, 327, Sr.#, Chatsworth, Calif.) and tackle Jacob Dunning (6-5, 287, So.#, Leander, Texas) are back after receiving starts a year ago as well.

Rhoads is also anxious to see how his redshirt freshmen linemen respond in their first season of competition in players like Shawn Curtis (6-5, 288, Fr.#, Orlando, Fla.), Ryan Glenn (6-4, 305 Fr.#, Waukee, Iowa) and Jake Campos (6-7, 279, Fr.#, West Des Moines, Iowa).

Rhoads On The Offensive Line
“There was good that came out of the 2013 season from an experience standpoint for our offensive line. We knew we were going to be young on the offensive side in general and certainly on the line specifically. Having the injuries that we had on the line last year really tore at our football team. However, it did give us a chance to play even more guys there who gained experience that will benefit us in 2014.”

“The line is anchored by a couple of seniors in Tom Farniok and Jacob Gannon, who are really good solid blocks to the foundation of the group. These guys have played a lot of snaps, understand the Big 12 and its rigors and will be mature in the classroom as we install new pieces of the offense under a new coordinator and a new offensive line coach. Then you add to that the return of guys like Brock Dagel, a redshirt junior, sophomore Daniel Burton, who in the seventh game of the 2013 season was our only starter on the OL that had started all seven games, and Jamison Lalk, who has played both center and guard. There is a lot of experience returning.”

Oni Omoile, who got a number of reps and starts because of injury last year, is another guy we are excited about. He’s probably our most athletic, quickest and explosive offensive lineman even though he’s just under 300 pounds. Jacob Dunning probably headlines the backups, as he goes into his third year and gives us great depth at the tackle position. It was late in the year when I really thought that Jacob had really started to mature both physically and mentally in a position that really needs it to be successful. You got a couple guys coming off freshman redshirts in two local products, Jake Campos and Ryan Glenn, both mentally strong and physically tough and capable kids who I think will compete immediately to get themselves in the two deep. Shawn Curtis will go into his second spring practice and he continues to do a nice job of developing with coach (Yancy) McKnight and his staff in the weight room.”

Defensive Tackles

Synopsis

With two starters on the interior defensive line sitting out of spring drills in Rodney Coe (6-3, 301, Sr., Fulton, Mo.) and David Irving (6-7, 281, Sr., San Jacinto, Calif.), a slew of young Cyclones will get reps this spring.

Both Coe and Irving are nursing shoulder injuries, leaving a hole in the middle for spring practice. Coe started the last four games of 2013 and had 4.5 of his 5.0 tackles for loss in the last five games. Irving started eight games in 2013, registering 4.5 tackles for loss and four pass break ups.

Devlyn Cousin (6-1, 295, So.#, St. Marys, Ga.), Pierre Aka (6-4, 285, So.#, Indianapolis, Ind.), Vernell Trent (6-3, 287, Fr.#, Jacksonville, Fla.) and Robby Garcia (6-3, 277, Fr.#, Tampa, Fla.) will all get the chance to prove their skills on the interior defensive line this spring.

Cousin is the most experienced of the group, playing in seven games in 2013. Late in the year Cousin was inserted into the rotation on the interior line, registering six tackles.

Aka was injured last year and did not play in a game. He is healthy now. Both Trent and Garcia are coming off their redshirt seasons.

Rhoads On The Defensive Tackles
“It’s going to be scary going into spring practice with only Devlyn Cousin, a redshirt sophomore, as our most veteran interior defensive lineman able to play. Rodney Coe and David Irving, two veteran starters, will be out recovering from post-season shoulder surgeries. We expect a full rehab by the summer and no issues come August. In the meantime, Cousin and Pierre Aka will start at those tackle positions. Pierre is coming off a shoulder surgery of his own that took place in the middle of last season. His rehab has been successful and he’s been cleared to participate in spring drills. They’ll be backed up by true freshmen Vernell Trent and Robby Garcia, two guys very capable of being contributors for us this fall.”

Defensive Ends

Synopsis
On the outside, the undisputed leader is senior Cory Morrissey (6-4, 260, Sr., Ames, Iowa). An honorable mention All-Big 12 selection in 2013, Morrissey started 11 of 12 games at defensive end, leading all Cyclone down linemen with 52 tackles. He was also second on the team in tackles for loss at 6.5.

Mitchell Meyers (6-4, 262, So.#, The Woodlands, Texas) also returns on the outside. Meyers played in all 12 games a year ago, tallying 14 tackles.

Also watch for J.D. Waggoner (6-2, 247, Fr.#, Dallas, Texas) and Gabe Luna (6-1, 255, Jr., Garden City, Kan.) this spring. Waggoner is coming off a redshirt and Luna is a mid-year enrollee from Butler C.C. (Kansas).

Defensive scout team player of the year in 2013 Justin Madison (6-2, 212, Fr.#, Tampa, Fla.) will sit out of spring drills because of an ACL injury.

Rhoads On The Defensive Ends
“The defensive end position will be one or two positions that will be very thin for us this spring. We’re not going to be able to survive with injuries. We’re going to have to be smart in how we practice and getting our guys through.”

Cory Morrissey leads the group and maybe leads the defense quite honestly. He’s a definite captain potential for our football team. Nobody plays the game harder on our roster than Cory does. That’s not to say he doesn’t have talent to go along with it. He might not be the fastest or the quickest guy, but he more than makes up for that with his intelligence and his effort. He’s a guy, when the season is done, could be an All-Big 12 player. He’s really added to his physical size at over 260 pounds. He will give us production and leadership, both very important attributes.”

Mitchell Meyers comes off a freshman year where he got his feet wet. I think he got better and better as every week went by. There were times where he played inside on substitution packages and he could hold his own in there. We might be the biggest we’ve been on the defensive end position since we’ve been here. Although it’s not a must, it is important to be able to battle some of these monstrosities at tackle that we face in our league. There’s a phrase that coaches will use, ‘A guy’s gotta pull a trigger.’ I think at times Mitchell was tentative as a redshirt freshman and I think as he goes into his sophomore year, he’ll get to a point where he’s pulling that trigger on a regular basis and playing faster and more physical.”

J.D. Waggoner will be like Mitchell was a year ago coming off his redshirt year, and quite honestly, could get forced into competition because of the thinness of this group. J.D. was a very productive high school player on a very talented team. We look forward to him showing that talent this spring. Then we’ve already added Gabe Luna, one of several junior college players that will join our program. Gabe is here this spring and has already bulked up 10 pounds since he’s arrived. Sometimes that’s just as easy as eating three square meals a day, not to mention the work that’s gone on in the weight room. Gabe is really a lot like Cory Morrissey. He’s very serious about his training and about the game and brings the blue-collar mentality that we love. He has better feet than I anticipated him having when we recruited him. So we are excited about Gabe’s addition.”

Linebackers

Synopsis

Iowa State must replace the services of first-team All-Big 12 linebacker Jeremiah George at the MIKE linebacker spot. George is one of four Cyclone linebackers to earn first-team all-Big 12 honors in the five-year Paul Rhoads era.

Rhoads does, however, return a pair of starters in seniors Jared Brackens (6-1, 215, Sr., Mesquite, Texas) and Jevohn Miller (6-1, 243, Sr., Brooklyn, Iowa). Luke Knott (6-0, 218, So.#, Lee’s Summit, Mo.), who started five games as a freshman in 2013, will not participate in spring drills while recovering from hip surgery. Knott recorded 45 tackles in six games.

Brackens, with 12 starts, has the most returning starts of any other defensive player for the Cyclones. Brackens started every game at the SAM/Nickel slot in 2013, ranking third on the team in tackles with 61. He also had 4.5 tackles for loss.

Miller, meanwhile, has the most career games played of any returning Cyclone defender with 37. Miller settled in as the starting WILL linebacker after Knott went down with his hip injury in 2013, racking up 39 of his 44 tackles on the season in the final six games, averaging 6.5 tpg in that span.

Players vying to take over George’s spot at MIKE linebacker are Kane Seeley (6-1, 240, So.#, Perry, Iowa), Alton Meeks (6-2, 249, Fr.#, Orlando, Fla.) and Jordan Harris (5-11, 241, Jr., Clarksdale, Miss.).

Seeley saw action in 11 games in 2013 and Meeks is coming off his redshirt season. Harris was a huge pickup for Rhoads as a mid-year enrollee. Harris was a second-team NJCAA All-American at Copiah-Lincoln CC after leading the nation in tackles (13.8 tpg).

Darius White (6-0, 233, So.#, Palmetto, Fla.) and Justin Webster (6-0, 222, Fr.#, Houston, Texas) will be backups to Brackens at the SAM/Nickel spot.

Levi Peters (5-10, 217, So.#, Gilmore City, Iowa) and Brian Mills (5-10, 227, Fr.#, Clermont, Fla.) are backups to Miller at the WILL spot.

Rhoads On The Linebackers
“We find ourselves for the second year in a row replacing a first team All-Big 12 linebacker in Jeremiah George. Jeremiah will be missed for a number of reasons. We’ve got some guys returning with playing experience and Jared Brackens is one of those guys. Jared will once again play our SAM/Nickel linebacker spot. It’s nice to have that athleticism out there, especially in this league with so many spread offenses and three and four wide-out systems. Jared, with a year under his belt, should be able to find himself more comfortable inside when we’re facing two-back systems.”

Kane Seeley, Alton Meeks and newcomer Jordan Harris will provide great competition for Jeremiah’s vacated MIKE linebacker position. Kane will be going into his second spring and he has really learned a lot in the past year being behind Jeremiah. He is starting to understand what Coach (Wally) Burnham is talking about and that’s quite honestly the normal progression at that position. Alton Meeks goes into his second spring after graduating early last year. Jordan Harris brings a physical tenacity that we certainly desire at the position.”

Jevohn Miller is already a senior and that is scary how fast his career has flown by. He gives us experience at the WILL spot. Levi Peters, who has really surfaced as a special team’s player in our program, also continues to grow at linebacker and Brian Mills comes off his redshirt season to enter into the depth chart and the mix at WILL.”

Darius White and Justin Webster are also guys that will compete at the SAM position and play on the edge. We’re anxious to get Justin in pads. He missed a lot of practice time with a broken hand in the fall. Darius really is a pure linebacker. He’s another guy that we’re anxious to see after another year under his belt.”

Defensive Backs

Synopsis

Finding replacements in the secondary for multiple-year starters Jacques Washington, Deon Broomfield and Jansen Watson will be the No. 1 priority.

Iowa State does have back the services of cornerbacks Nigel Tribune (5-10, 183, So., Jacksonville, Fla.) and Sam E. Richardson (5-7, 189, Jr.#, League City, Texas), who both registered over six starts last year. Tribune is the only true freshman to play for the Cyclones in the last two seasons. He totaled 30 tackles and six pass breakups in seven starts.

Richardson had 53 tackles and seven pass breakups in six starts.

Kenneth Lynn (5-10, 166, Jr.#., Dallas, Texas) is also back at one of the cornerback spots. Lynn played in seven games and started in the season-finale vs. West Virginia. Matthew Thomas (5-10, 168, Sr.#, Lancaster, Texas) will also have the opportunity to see action at cornerback.

Broomfield rarely came out of games at strong safety last year. Rhoads has T.J. Mutcherson (5-11, 203, So.#, Tampa, Fla.) and Devron Moore (5-11, 190, Jr., Carthage, Mo.) pegged as suitors to fill in for the spot left vacant by Broomfield.

Mutcherson lettered in his redshirt freshman season, seeing time on special teams. Moore is a junior college transfer who began school in the second semester. Moore was a highly sought after JUCO safety after a stellar career at NE Oklahoma A&M JC where he picked off 10 passes.

Rhoads has Kamari Cotton-Moya (6-0, 190, Fr.#, Bakersfield, Calif.), Darian Cotton (5-11, 201, Jr.#, Mount Pleasant, Iowa) and Kamari Syrie (5-9, 203, Fr.#, Hurst, Texas) fighting for Washington’s former spot at free safety.

Cotton-Moya and Syrie are coming off their redshirt seasons, while Cotton lettered last year on special teams.

Rhoads On The Defensive Backs
“Cornerback is another position to go along with the defensive front that is thin with four scholarship players as we go into spring practice. We’re helped by the fact that three of them have played a good amount of Big 12 football. The group is probably led by Nigel Tribune, who is coming off his true freshman year, and then Sam Richardson and Ken Lynn will be right there competing. Matt Thomas is also there heading into his senior year. These are four guys that obviously can play the position and all run. They will be anxious to be tutored by a new secondary coach and compete. As an old defensive back coach myself, I’ve never been opposed to playing three and four guys in the position and keeping guys fresh to keep people out of our end zone. I think all four of these young men will approach the job with that mentality.”

“The safety position is going to see new starters certainly with Washington and Broomfield graduating, two guys that have meant a lot to our program and had a lot of starts. T.J. Mutcherson and Darian Cotton will lead the way as we go into spring drills, two guys that have been here awhile and will finally get their opportunity. Both these guys are good with the ball in the air, meaning they have excellent ball skills and bring good physical toughness to the position. Kamari Cotton-Moya comes off a true freshman year in where he suffered an achilles tendon injury and we’re hoping to have him back and healthy for the entire length of spring practice. He’s a guy that I felt back in training camp in August would have probably played as a true freshman if he’d not gotten hurt, so we’re excited to have him back in pads. Devron Moore is the third junior college player that joins us this spring and will be available. He brings both ball skills and a physical play from NE Oklahoma Community College. Drake Ferch is a local young man from West Marshall High School and Kamari Syrie are two other guys that will add to the depth of the safety position and give us some great competition there as well.”

Specialists

Synopsis

Four-year All-Big 12 punter Kirby Van Der Kamp is gone and so is his career 42.4 ypp average, the 21st-best career average in NCAA history. Van Der Kamp will likely be punting on Sundays and Holden Kramer (6-2, 183, Fr.#, West Des Moines, Iowa) will handle punting duties for the Cyclones in the spring.

Kramer is a walk-on who sat out last season as a redshirt.

Spencer Thornton (6-1, 251, Sr.#, Marion, Iowa) will begin his third season as ISU’s long snapper.

The situation at kicker was solidified by the outstanding freshman season from Cole Netten (6-1, 213, So.#, Ankeny, Iowa) in 2013. Netten was 13-of-18 on field goals and 33-of-34 on PATs in his rookie season. He was successful on 13-of-14 field goal tries of 41 yards or shorter.

Rhoads On The Special Teams
Cole Netten really emerged in the middle of the season and took hold of our place kicking position. He got more and more accurate and confident as the year went. I’m really pleased with his growth and at the prospect of him being a four-year starter. Cole will also look to take on the kickoff duties as well with Edwin Arceo’s graduation. Spencer Thornton is back for his third year as a starter as a long-snapper. It’s a position of great value to the team that is often over looked. Holden Kramer comes off a freshman campaign and will handle punting duties this spring. He will be challenged by incoming freshman Colin Downing this fall.”

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