Bass the Speed Demon
Wednesday, August 22, 2007 12:26 PM CDT
Speed thrills: ISU has big plans for Bass and running game
By BRIAN MASON, Courier Sports Writer
AMES -- Speed factors into just about everything Jamicah Bass does.
On the field, quickness helped him score 15 touchdowns in 14 junior college games last season and made him one of the most coveted running backs in the nation.
Outside the lines, even his name has been streamlined. Shedding unnecessary syllables in the interest of time, those around him rapidly refer to Jamicah simply as "J.J."
There was one thing that caused Bass to apply the brakes, however. The process of determining where to continue his promising football career after a successful run in the juco ranks gave the 21-year-old cause to slow down and weigh his options.
Once he settled on Iowa State, though, Bass was ready to shift back into high gear and make the most of the two years he'll have in the cardinal and gold.
"I feel blessed and I feel honored to be here," Bass said. "Going through junior college thing kind of makes you hungrier and makes you really appreciate everything that you get.
"There's no time to waste."
While he originally committed to North Carolina State following a strong prep career at Lyman High School, the Altamonte Springs, Fla., native was unable to meet NCAA eligibility requirements and saw his career take a 2,500-mile detour to El Camino College in Torrance, Calif.
All he did at El Camino was rush for 536 yards and seven touchdowns as a freshman before racking up 1,381 all-purpose yards and 15 combined touchdowns as a sophomore to lead the Warriors to a 12-2 record and a California state championship.
Those numbers caught the eye of coaches across the country and led SuperPrep to list him as the No. 2 junior college back in the nation. However, for a player who could seemingly have his pick of a number of programs in the Football Bowl Subdivision, Bass was not quick to make a selection.
It appeared as though then-head coach Dan McCarney had successfully lured Bass to Iowa State, but McCarney's decision to step down last November reopened the recruiting process. Bass then committed to Oregon State, but new Cyclones coach Gene Chizik didn't want to give up on a back who could help ISU improve a rush offense that averaged 101.8 yards per game last season -- just 99th best in the country.
Bass couldn't say no to the Cyclones twice.
"I fell in love with the coaching staff and I fell in love with my teammates when I came out on my visit," he said. "This is where I wanted to come the whole time."
So far, Bass has managed to repeat in live action what the Iowa State staff was so drawn to on film.
"He's a very gifted player," first-year offensive coordinator Robert McFarland said. "He's learning a new offense and that always slows you down, but once the ball's in his hands, all the talent we thought we were recruiting is what we've seen."
Chizik insists the No. 1 spot in the Cyclone backfield is up for grabs, but Bass has one thing the other contenders at tailback do not -- experience.
Jason Scales, who ran for more than 6,000 yards as a prep at West Des Moines Valley, has exactly one start and 176 yards under his belt after two injury-plagued years in Ames. Jason Harris, another junior, ran 11 times for 40 yards as a freshman and then switched to cornerback last season. He rejoined the tailback corps during spring drills.
Regardless of who gets the job, Chizik says there will be plenty of work to be done. While quarterback Bret Meyer and wide receiver Todd Blythe provide a reliable aerial attack for the Cyclones and are among the most seasoned components of the offensive unit -- two of only three seniors listed as offensive starters heading into fall practice -- ISU's staff is committed to the running game.
"The tailback is going to be huge in our offense," McFarland said. "We plan to run the ball."
That should give Bass plenty of opportunities to showcase the speed that has come to define him.
"I feel like I can do it all," he said. "I can go outside, I can go inside. Whatever the play calls for, I feel like I can do it."
Contact Brian Mason at firstname.lastname@example.org
On the Web:
Read what Gene Chizik told Beaton's Blog about being Iowa State's CEO at :wcfcourier.com/blogs/beaton
Re: Bass the Speed Demon
Another great find--you're on a roll today!
Re: Bass the Speed Demon
Actually CyJ posted that link at 1:15. A very good read though