matt campbell national signing day 2017

There are no 4 or 5-star players in this class for Iowa State. Following the decommitment of Kam White, Iowa State fans knew the class might not have the extra “juice” it appeared to have a couple months ago, but it’s still darn good.

In Matt Campbell’s first full year to recruit at Iowa State, he’s done just as well as one would hope, if not better. Rivals.com lists Iowa State’s class just outside the Top 40, which when compared to some of Paul Rhoads’ last recruiting classes, is a home run.

Campbell did a good job utilizing his ties to the Midwest from his time at Toledo and combining it with some success in-state and finding (hopeful) diamond in the rough across Big 12 country.

The star of the Iowa State 2017 recruiting class: LB O’Rien Vance (Cedar Rapids, IA)

Vance committed to Iowa State nearly a year ago and he held firm in his commitment.

Linebacker is a position that Iowa State could use all the help it can get. Willie Harvey leads the linebackers in Ames, but it’s a group that struggled last year and does not have much depth. Enter Vance, who physically is ready to play right away at 6’3”, 235 lbs. He’s a consensus top-50 linebacker in the country and racked up 25 tackles for loss his junior season, with 13 his senior season.

He was a three-year starter at 4A powerhouse Cedar Rapids Washington High School and spent most of his time playing almost every position on the front 7. Thanks to that experience, he will likely start out better against the run and as a pass rusher off the edge, than in pass coverage. But his athleticism will allow his pass coverage (which he needs to have to be successful in the Big 12) to improve rapidly.

Expect to see plenty of Vance on the field helping the Cyclones defense next fall.

The best position group of the Iowa State 2017 recruiting class: defensive end

The Cyclones absolutely killed it at the defensive end position. They bring in 4 players who can all make an impact, two sooner than later. Campbell welcomes in Matt Leo (Yuma, AZ), Angel Dominguez (Overland Park, KS), Cordarrius Bailey (Clarksdale, MS), and Dan Sichterman (Kings Mill, OH). If you missed it, we did a featured interview on Sichterman a few days ago.

Leo is a former rugby player who has only been playing football for 2 years. He flipped from Arizona in December and at 24 years old, along with being 6’7”, 265 pounds, the JUCO transfer should help right away and his ceiling is incredibly high. Meantime, the Cyclones had to hold off Mississippi State and Louisville to keep Bailey, and it should pay off. He may need to put on some weight (6’4”, 210 lbs), but if he can maintain his speed he could be the ideal edge rusher to face air raid Big 12 offenses. Dominguez and Sichterman have high ceilings but come with some uncertainty. Dominiguez was an all-state player as a junior, but missed his senior season with a torn ACL/MCL and Sitcherman is likely to red shirt to add some size.

The Iowa State 2017 recruiting class could use more depth at: running back

 

Um … about that? Iowa State didn’t have any running backs in the 2017 class.

Granted, they have 9 running backs currently on the roster, but it’s very unusual to go an entire class without at least 1 player at each position. Despite a disappointing 2016 season (by his standards), Mike Warren returns to the backfield next season along side the team’s leading rusher David Montgomery. Add that to Kene Nwangwu, and quarterback Joel Lanning, who will have plenty of run packages built for him, and it starts to make some sense.

Still, it’s tough and fairly unusual to go a class without at least one player at each position, especially a position like running back.

But, it won’t affect the team one bit in 2017.

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