Williams Blog: Football recruiting trail is scorching hot
There’s no doubt that recruiting is an important aspect of college football. Heck, it might be the most important aspect. Recruiting is the lifeblood of every program across the country. If you’re getting your butt kicked on the phone during the season, you’re not going to win games in the future. If you’re scouting department stinks, your win-loss record is going to stink. If your coaching staff can’t relate to 18-year olds when they take an official visit, your coaching staff won’t be around for very long.
You get the point.
Get ready for a fairly bold statement that at the same time, shouldn’t surprise you in the least.
I’ve covered Iowa State recruiting since the year 2004 – when Steve Deace hired me as a sophomore in college to work for the old CycloneNation.com.
Since that time, I’ve yet to see a span of football recruiting that even compares to the last week and a half that Paul Rhoads’ staff has put in the books.
It all began on Sunday, Nov. 25 with Iowa Western Community College defensive end Rodney Coe. Coe, a former Iowa commitment (as a running back), fills an immediate need for Iowa State. He’ll likely slide over to defensive tackle and will have a legitimate chance to start right away for Iowa State in 2013. As far as the 2013 recruiting class goes when it comes to impacting the team right away next season, Coe was truly a “must-get” for Iowa State. Coe was just the start of this unbelievable recruiting stretch.
Up next were two prospects who played the always fun game of switcharoo, favoring the Cyclones in the end. The first was Alton Meeks, a former Cincinnati commit (as a quarterback), who took the plunge and decided to become a Cyclone. Meeks will play linebacker at Iowa State, a position that the program desperately needs to build depth at over the next couple of years.
The Coe and Meeks commitments combined to equal one very filling and delicious appetizer.
West Des Moines Valley offensive lineman Jake Campos switching his commitment from Missouri to Iowa State was the prime rib. Campos, the top-ranked player in the state of Iowa, had offers from Oklahoma, Kansas State, Missouri, Vanderbilt, Kansas and Illinois to name a few. That list would have been larger had he not committed to Missouri so early in the process. The Campos commitment was crucial for a number of reasons. One, it officially got Iowa State back in the “game” of in-state recruiting. Not that Iowa State wasn’t there before. Snagging Ankeny quarterback Joel Lanning is nothing to sneeze at. But the fact that Campos de-committed to Missouri and chose Iowa State was one of those slap across your face moments that said, ‘okay these Cyclones are definitely on the trail.’
Monday night’s news that 2014 Urbandale wide receiver Allen Lazard committed to Iowa State was a welcomed stunner. For those who don’t follow the recruiting trail very closely, I’ll make things simple for you. According to many “experts” in the field of football recruiting, Lazard will likely be ranked as the top wide receiver in entire class of 2014. In fact, I'd go out on a limb to say that he'd probably start for Iowa State next year.
This is a big time get…Big, big time. An argument can be made that it is one of, if not the biggest “get” in Iowa State history. Lazard is a 2014 commitment. He’ll without a doubt be the state’s top ranked prospect.
So to wrap things up, Coe brings immediate help to next years defense that will need some reinforcements. Meeks (who I’ve heard some very positive things about over the last week) brings depth to a position where the program really needed it. Campos had plenty of other BCS options yet chose Iowa State after a long recruiting process. He has the ability to anchor Iowa State’s line as a three or even four-year starter. And Lazard, I think I’ve got him covered. He’ll be one of the top recruits to come out of this state in a long time.
We’ve seen a lot of progress in Ames since Paul Rhoads to town. Facilities are night and day compared to what they used to be. Attendance is at an all-time high. With three bowl games in four years, we’ve seen progress on the field.
Now, we’re seeing that type of progress on the recruiting trail which could lead to even bigger things in the future.