AMES, Iowa - The emergence of running back Aaron Wimberly has ignited the Iowa State offense in recent games. Since the junior college transfer was inserted into the ISU lineup for the Tulsa game, the Cyclones have averaged 402.7 yards of total offense, including 174.3 yards on the ground.
The Snellville, Ga., native was pegged to be a strong contributor for the Cyclones this season after an All-American career at Iowa Western C.C. Wimberly helped lead the Reivers to the 2012 NJCAA national championship after rushing for 1,125 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Wimberly’s breakout game at ISU came against Tulsa when he rushed for 137 yards. He followed that performance with a 117-yard game with a pair of touchdowns vs. Texas.
The speedster leads the team in rushing with 367 yards, averaging 4.8 yards per carry. His quick bursts and cuts are what make him dangerous, and Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads likes what he sees so far.
“He’s got a step of quickness and is an excellent one-cut guy,” Rhoads said. “He runs hard and he runs fast. He’s a good football player.”
Wimberly isn’t the only junior college running back to find immediate success at Iowa State. The Cyclones have had an outstanding tradition of junior college running backs producing memorable moments, and Wimberly is certainly among them.
Cyclones.com went back into the history book to give you a quick look at other star Cyclone running backs from the junior college ranks.
Dwayne Crutchfield (1980-81) 6-0, 225, Cincinnati, Ohio (Garden City [Kan.] Junior College)
Crutchfield burst onto the scene in 1980 by breaking Iowa State’s then single-season rushing mark with 1,312 yards. Crutchfield was unlike any other runner the Cyclones had ever seen. He wasn’t fast, or very quick, but as head coach Donnie Duncan put it best, “He’s like a bull coming out of a chute.”
Crutchfield punished would-be tacklers for 11 touchdowns and a 4.6 ypc average in his All-American junior season. He had seven 100-yard games in 1980 to earn first-team All-Big Eight honors. Crutchfield reached the 1,000-yard mark again as a senior (1981), running for 1,189 yards. He is one of seven Cyclone running backs in school history to amass 1,000 yards in a season multiple times.
Crutchfield went on to play three seasons in the NFL.
Blaise Bryant (1989-90) 6-0, 200, Huntington Beach, Calif. (Golden West [Calif.] College)
Nine years after Crutchfield set ISU’s single-season rushing mark it was eclipsed by another junior college transfer Blaise Bryant. Bryant ranked fourth in the nation in rushing in 1989, grinding out 1,516 yards on the ground to earn All-America honors and Big Eight Newcomer of the Year accolades. Bryant also set the school mark for rushing touchdowns in a season with 19.
Bryant was the nation’s leading returning rusher in 1990 and a preseason All-America pick in virtually all preseason magazines. Injuries plagued Bryant’s senior season, however. He still led the team in rushing with 753 yards and 12 touchdowns despite missing two games.
His 1,516 yards in 1989 is third-best single-season total in school history.
Harold Brown (1982) 6-2, 210, Ravenna, Ohio (Joliet [Ill.] Junior College)
Harold Brown only had one year of eligibility at Iowa State in 1982 after transferring from Joliet Junior College. Brown played two seasons at Ohio State before going to Joliet, where he set the all-time junior college rushing mark with 2,100 yards and 20 touchdowns in his only season there.
Brown had a solid season for the Cyclones in 1982, rushing for 622 yards and scoring eight touchdowns at 5.5 yards per carry clip, which ranks as one of the best single-season averages in ISU history.
Brown is best remembered for his 242-yard, three-touchdown performance vs. Kent State in 1982. It was the third-best single-game rushing performance in ISU history at the time and it ranks ninth all-time in school history now.
Andrew Jackson (1985-86) 5-10, 195, Los Angeles, Calif. (El Camino [Calif.] Junior College)
Andrew Jackson led the Cyclones in rushing in both of his seasons in Ames with 415 yards in 1985 and 455 yards in 1986. Jackson was a member of the USC football team for one season before heading to junior college.
Jackson tallied a career-high 141 yards vs. Kansas State in 1985 and had a 140-yard performance vs. Wyoming as a senior in 1986.