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Courtesy: Athletics Communications

Rhoads Makes Good Time With First Recruiting Class

Release: 02/04/2009
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AMES, Iowa For new Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads, time was of the essence. The Cyclone head coach assumed the ISU helm Dec. 20.  The 42-year-old Rhoads has subsisted on pure adrenaline since. In a collegiate version of Beat the Clock, Rhoads has been hiring staff and putting together the 2009 recruiting class he unveiled at a press conference Wednesday in the Jacobson Athletics Building.

“This staff has done a fantastic job in six short weeks,” Rhoads said. “Putting together a staff in such a short time is indeed a challenge. We had three contact weeks left in what normally is a six-week recruiting period.”

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Rhoads said that while time was a factor, the 23 recruits that signed national letters of intent Wednesday will be Big 12 Conference level performers, some before others.

“There were two things we had to do,” Rhoads said. “We had to contact all the current committed players and reassure them that Iowa State was still the right choice and now a better choice. We then had to identify what the needs were of this program and who fit those needs. We then had to go out and develop relationships in a short period of time. I feel this staff did an outstanding job accomplishing those goals.”

Two Cyclones are already on campus after transferring in from junior college. Offensive lineman Zack Spears of Arp, Texas and safety David Sims of Gainesville, Fla. met the media Wednesday.

“You grow up in Texas wanting to play in the Big 12 Conference,” Spears said. “One of my best friends, (ISU wide receiver) Sedrick Johnson is here on the team. I can’t wait to experience gameday on a Saturday in the fall.”

Sims has also bonded with new teammates.

“I have gotten to know (cornerback) Kennard Banks and (safety) James Smith,” Sims said. “They have been telling me about the pride they have in this program.  Everything worked out well for me.”

Rhoads said he was pleased with the two junior college transfers and especially happy that the duo will be in spring football practice which begins next month.

“One of them (Spears) is really big and the other is one very fast (Sims),” Rhoads said. “We thought they were good on film and high-character kids when we signed them. (Sims) is a safety where we need depth. We need a player that can make an impact, both physically and with coverage. Offensive line always has to be well-stocked and you need to be three-deep. (Spears) definitely helps there.”

Rhoads sought help program-wide.

“We signed players at every single position, other than tight end,” Rhoads said. “We did fill needs with five junior-college players.”

Rhoads spoke specifically about his three Iowans, linebacker Jake Knott of Waukee, wide receiver Josh Lenz of Dubuque and Kyle Lichtenberg of Bettendorf.

“They are the gems of the class,” Rhoads said. “There’s not a player in this group that we don’t feel can come in here and help us win at Iowa State. We have a football team here that is very hungry and a recruiting class that understands that and wants to add to it.”

Rhoads spoke to what drove his staff through the recruiting period.

“You do it with a conviction and a sense of honesty that people can see,” Rhoads said. “When you share that vision and dream thoroughly, genuinely and honestly, I think people can feel the excitement.”

The excitement begins with the first day of spring practice, March 24. The spring game is set for April 18.

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