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Courtesy: Athletics Communications

Wimberly Finds Friends at Iowa State

Release: 02/01/2013
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AMES, Iowa - In the end, it was the personal relations that helped Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads snag Iowa Western's junior college All-American running back Aaron Wimberly. The competition for Wimberly was fierce as the Miami, Fla. native took visits to Iowa State, TCU and Boise State.

I took an official visit and a couple of unofficial visits," Wimberly said. "There were other Iowa State players from Georgia on the team and a couple of former players from Iowa Western (Community College) and I just liked it here (Ames)."

Wimberly attended South Gwinnett High School in Snellville, Ga. which is 26 miles east of Atlanta, Ga. The 45-minute drive is comparable to the distance between Ames and Des Moines. The Wimberly family did not end up there by accident.

"I grew up in Miami (Fla.) until I was 12 years old," Wimberly said. "Our family moved to get away from the crime hassles of the big city. You can do more things growing up in a place like Snellville."

Wimberly started playing football at age six. At South Gwinnett High School he played as a freshman in the secondary.  Wimberly played slot receiver as a sophomore. Late in the season, he got his chance at running back. He made the most of it, rushing for 887 yards as South Gwinnett made the state playoffs. Wimberly rushed for 935 yards as a junior and the Comets went 10-2 and made the second round of the playoffs. He topped 1,000 yards rushing his senior season and his team made the second round of the state playoffs.

Wimberly's choice after his senior season would bring him to Iowa.

"I was not a qualifier and my high school coach (John Smalls) helped me find a community college," Wimberly said.  "It came down to Iowa Western and Butler (Kan.). Both had good records sending people to (NCAA Division I) schools. I liked the people I met at (Iowa Western) and bonded with some of guys there. I looked at going there as a business trip."

In particular, Wimberly hit it off with running back Don Jackson (now at Nevada) and quarterback Jake Waters (now at Kansas State). Wimberly had 887 yards rushing on 174 carries as a freshman for a 9-2 Iowa Western team that won the Midwest Conference West Division title. Wimberly rushed for 144 yards as the No. 8 Reivers (River Pirates) thrashed seventh-ranked and previously unbeaten Rochester (Minn.) 62-0 at the 2011 Graphic Edge Bowl in Cedar Falls. It was the most lopsided contest in the junior college bowl's 61-game history. Wimberly was first-team all-conference member and earned All-America honors.

The 2011 season would be tough to top, but Wimberly and his Iowa Western teammates' encore would take the Reivers to the pinnacle of junior college football.

True to its nickname, Iowa Western pillaged and plundered its way through a 12-0 2012 season that climaxed with a 27-7 win over Wimberly's second choice, Butler CC. The Graphic Edge Bowl win made Iowa Western the national junior college (NJCAA) champion. Wimberly was a big part of the Reivers' success, averaging 7.4 yards per carry and finishing the season with 1,150 yards on 155 carries with 13 touchdowns. The Reivers won their games by an average score of 63-13. In conference play, Wimberly averaged 11.6 yards per carry en route to second-team All-America honors. He had seven 100 yard games in 2012.

Wimberly demonstrated his versatility last season. He only returned three kickoffs but they included an 89-yarder for a touchdown against North Dakota State School of Science and a 53 yarder at Trinity Valley CC.

Wimberly enrolled at Iowa State for the 2013 spring semester and is currently participating in the Cyclones' strength and conditioning program in the brand new Bergstrom Football Complex. He has jumped in with both feet.

"I have a couple of former Iowa Western teammates here and have already bonded with my teammates," Wimberly said. "(Iowa State defensive end) Cory Morrissey and (defensive back) Drake Ferch were teammates at Iowa Western. I'm from Miami originally so I have enjoyed getting to know the Florida guys. We have a couple Georgia guys on the team (DL Devlyn Cousin and TE Ernst Brun), and I enjoyed meeting them too."

These bonds will strengthen over time.
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