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Courtesy: Athletics Communications

Cyclones Sign Lengthy Corner Clifford Stokes

Release: 02/06/2012
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AMES, Iowa – College Football’s National Signing Day traditionally brings excitement and anticipation to universities across the nation.  This year was no different as the Iowa State signed 18 student-athletes on Feb. 1, bringing the 2012 class total to 21.  Cyclone head coach Paul Rhoads attributes recruiting success to building personal relationships and to the Cyclone community. 

Iowa State’s football motto, “All In,” caught the eye of Trinity Valley (Texas) Community College cornerback Clifford Stokes.  The 6’1 Florida native finalized his decision this past November around Thanksgiving, shortly after the team’s 37-31 overtime victory over then No. 2 ranked Oklahoma State.  Stokes was on his official visit for that game and was even able to experience coach Rhoads’ speech first hand in the locker room following the dramatic comeback.

“It’s the experience you dream to be a part of [as a player],” Stokes remarked.

Cornerbacks are typically small in stature and make up for it with great speed and athleticism.  From birth through his junior year of high school, Stokes was no different.  Born on March 16, 1991, he was born three months premature at 3 pounds, 6 ounces. The doctors at one point even pronounced him dead.  It was not his time then.  Stokes was given another opportunity in life.  He fought throughout junior high and high school to keep up with his growing classmates.  When his size finally did catch up to the previously larger players, his fundamentals and ball skills began to be noticed by college scouts.

With only a couple of collegiate scholarship offers coming out of high school, Stokes decided to take his talents to Trinity Valley Community College in Athens, Texas.  His physical growth continued at the college level with the tougher workout programs and work against larger players.  At Trinity he grew two more inches and added 25 pounds to his long frame.  His size and began to catch the eyes of upper-level university programs.  Declining offers from numerous other schools such as Baylor, Houston and Minnesota, Stokes decided Ames was the place for him soon after the Cyclones downed the No. 2 Oklahoma State on Nov. 18. 

“I just kept the offers from other schools in a garbage bag back home,” Stokes said with a smile.

When asked about his style of play, Stokes affirms the importance of stature.  Not many cornerbacks are able to match up eye to eye with wide receivers, but Stokes stands near the upper end of the defensive back spectrum at 6 feet 1 inch tall.  This only adds to his confidence in his ball skills.  Having that extra two inches provides an advantage for the corner in defending a pass or punching a ball free. 

Stokes gives a lot of the credit on his decision to the Iowa State fans and current players.  Those involved gave his visit a “homey feeling,” and the electric atmosphere of the game sealed the deal.

Stokes is already enrolled and working out with his teammates getting ready for Spring football.
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