Spring Outlook: Wide Receivers
AMES, Iowa – Locked and loaded. It’s the appropriate term to describe the Cyclone receiving corps in 2014. Of the 144 receptions corralled by Cyclone receivers in 2013, ISU returns wideouts with 105 of those catches.
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.
Tommy Mangino, who is in his first season as Iowa State’s receivers coach, already likes what he sees in Bundrage.
“I told Quenton he’s got to be consistent,” Mangino said. “He’s got to be a play-maker. People are going to know about him and people are going to do things to take him away because he’s been a play-maker for us. I told him he’s got to be consistent, he’s got to be physical, he’s got to bring his “A” game every day and he does. He’s a focused kid. It’s awesome to coach him. He loves to catch the football but he’ll go out there and block you too. He’s not scared.”
Besides Bundrage, the Cyclones also return 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.
“Jarvis has been great,” said Mangino. “He’s been a leader of our group. He’s not a rah rah guy, and I’m OK with that, because I’m not either. I’m not a run around and cheer lead kind of guy. He just kind of leads by example and I appreciate what he brings to the table. He’s an extremely mature kid and fun to be around.”
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.
Mangino 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). All three will get their chance to prove their abilities in spring ball.
“I’ve been really impressed with the group from top to bottom,” Mangino said. “Their football intellect is sharp. They’ve been coached before. Coach (Todd) Sturdy did a great job with those kids and they’re into it and really eager to do well this year and make a statement. It’s a young group for the most part and they’re eager to learn."