We are still about eight months away from the early signing period for the 2019 class but as we all know, recruiting NEVER sleeps. Just look at the current 2019 class rankings (247) and you will certainly see some familiar schools in the top 20. You’ll see LSU, Alabama, Florida, Michigan, Oklahoma and uh…. Iowa State? That’s right folks and that’s no typo either. Sound those sirens because the Cyclones are up there recruiting with the big boys of college football. Look, I know it is still extremely early, but it is still impressive regardless of how far out we are until pen meets paper. In fact, I wrote an article around this time last year about the Kansas Jayhawks hot start for the 2018 class, but Kansas ended up fading big time down the stretch. I am sure many of people are wondering, how historic can this class end up being and how in the world can a program like Iowa State strike gold on the recruiting trail? I hope to answer some of those questions to the best of my ability. Enjoy!
Head Coach Matt Campbell
No offense to Cyclone fans but succeeding at a place like Iowa State is no easy task for a head football coach. To be honest with you, I had my doubts about Matt Campbell after his first season but after what me and the entire country witnessed in 2017, buy me a ticket so I can hop on the train. Matt Campbell has shown that he is a great leader of young men and has most importantly emphasized that football is a team game all the way around. If you have 11 guys on the field who believe in what they are doing and giving it all they have each play, anything is possible between the white lines.
I asked several 2019 Iowa State commits about Matt Campbell and one description really stuck out to me. It came from 3-star WR Darien Porter who said, “Not only is he an awesome coach, he’s a great guy too. He holds very high standards for his players helping them in football and in the classroom. He and his coaching staff will prepare you to play the best teams in the country and be the best payer you can be. He also prepares you for life after football.” Pretty powerful stuff that goes far beyond the gridiron.
Breaking Barriers on the Field
Recruiting success is always nice but how to you sustain that success? As the legendary Raiders Owner Al Davis would say “Just win baby.” That is spot on and last season Iowa State saw on the field success that they haven’t seen in well over a decade. In 2017 the Cyclones finished up Big 12 play with a record of 5-4. Do you know when the last time Iowa State finished the season with an above .500 record in conference play? It was all the way back in 2000 under coach Dan McCarney who finished with a 5-3 Big 12 record that season. Campbell also was able to win a bowl game last season (Liberty Bowl) giving the program their first bowl win since 2009 (Pinstripe Bowl). By no means is this program a finished product. As long as Matt Campbell is chewing gum and rocking the headset on the sidelines at Iowa State, the sky is the limit.
Making History on the Recruiting Trail
As of right now, Iowa State currently has a top 15 class for the 2019 recruiting cycle. Pretty darn good right? Since Matt Campbell took over this program (2016-present), his average recruiting class ranking was 53.6. So currently being in the top 15 nationally is a complete turnaround and then some. Since 247 started ranking recruiting classes (Year 2000), the best class Iowa State ever signed was the 2006 class that ranked 42nd nationally. I know some are wondering why didn’t Iowa State sign a better class in 2018? 2017 was a historical year for Iowa State and there simply isn’t enough time between the end of the season and the signing periods for recruits to fully soak it in. Plus, relationships are built overs years not over a few weeks. Now that time has passed, recruits are able to see the full picture and plan that Matt Campbell has in store for this program. If the Cyclone can find similar success on the field like last season, I have no doubt in my mind that the 2019 recruiting class could be the best of all time in Iowa State history.