Allen Lazard is 6’5”, 225 pounds, and can run a 40-yard dash in the 4.5’s. Sounds like a dream wide receiver for an NFL GM. Allen Lazard was tempted, but insisted he was more than ready to make one more go of it in Ames for the Iowa State Cyclones.
“I’m very satisfied with my decision. To be able to come back and finish by degree and with one more season to cap off my legacy was something I couldn’t pass up on,” Lazard said.
The wide receiver had a feeling towards the end of last season he wanted to stay in Ames for the 2017 campaign.
Lazard became just the fourth member of Iowa State’s 1,000-yard club last season, and also led the team in receptions (69) and touchdown catches (seven). As for the legacy the wide receiver mentions, he’s already in elite company in Ames, and is likely to rewrite the record books this fall. He currently ranks second in career touchdown catches (16), second in receptions (170), and third in receiving yards (2,419). Todd Blythe holds the Iowa State record for all three categories with 31 touchdown catches, 176 receptions and 3,096 yards.
But Lazard tries not to get caught up in the numbers. “I just want to leave Iowa State a better than when I came here. I want to make sure I give all my effort to Iowa State and come out with a bowl game.”
Also, coming back for Year 2 under Matt Campbell was something that was important to Lazard, who told Heartland College Sports, “everyone is more comfortable this offseason. We know we’re going to come in and have great success this year, come out these first few games and hit the ground running.”
There’s no doubt the Cyclones are ready for revenge. Last year’s team got off to a rocky start at 0-3, with losses to Northern Iowa, Iowa and TCU. But as the season progresses, this team found itself in close games with some of the Big 12’s best. Iowa State lost Oklahoma State, Kansas State, and Oklahoma by ten points or less. Overall, the Cyclones lost 5 games by 10 points or less (Baylor, Northern Iowa). So now the focus is on getting this season off to a hot start.
“It’s all about being consistent,” Lazard said. “In those games [we lost by ten points or less] we were winning at some point, or were right there. We just need to be more consistent through all four quarters and not let go of the lead and be able to step on the team’s throat.”
The Cyclones open up this season home against Northern Iowa, Iowa and then at Akron. There’s no doubt that Saturday September 9th is circled on the calendar for Lazard after last year’s 42-3 loss.
“With the Iowa game being how it was last year, that adds a little bit more spark to the fire. Just to go out there and make sure we get our revenge. Plus, it’s at home this year and we want to defend our home turf,” Lazard admitted.
One of the reason’s for the wide receiver’s confidence in coming back this fall was quarterback Jacob Park. The former 4-star recruit had to knock off some of his rust last season after several seasons on the sidelines or out of the game, but as the 2016 campaign progressed, so did Park. Over the last month of the season, Park threw 6 touchdowns to 2 interceptions and completed 63% of his passes. As expected, his star wide receiver expects big things, saying, “I have very high expectations for him… I expect him to be the leader of our offense and all the success will have to come through him.”
So as Allen Lazard prepares for a big season at Iowa State, with hopes to launch himself into a successful NFL career, his head coach Matt Campbell said it best, admitting, “What’s great about college football is that everybody says there are so many different ways to skin a cat. But when you really cut it open, there’s really not. There’s one way and it’s work ethic and the ability to reach your full potential. And the only way that that happens is if you literally have the opportunity and ability to perfect your craft. I think that’s what our kids have really invested in and I look forward to seeing what we reap from that investment.”
If there’s anyone who understands the possibilities that can come from reaching his full potential this fall it’s Allen Lazard.
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