It’s that time of year when we are all anticipating what’s to come in the upcoming college football season. We take a look at all our projections, try and find some bold predictions and count down to kick off.
247Sports’ Josh Pate has, in my humble opinion, the best overall college football podcast with his “Late Kick” show. And this is a good time to remind you that you should also be subscribed to our Big 12 podcast by searching Heartland College Sports wherever you get your podcasts.
Anyway, Pate was in this episode (at around the 32 minute mark) talking about defensive players who could end up getting an invite to New York City this season for the Heisman Trophy ceremony, and that’s when a familiar Big 12 name came up in his podcast.
Pate said, “Will McDonald at Iowa State is someone that if you told me a defensive player not named Will Anderson (Alabama) is not going to make it to New York [for the Heisman Trophy ceremony], not win it, make it to New York, I can buy.”
He went on to say, “I’m not predicting him to win it retroactively, I’m saying, that there is a world where Will McDonald blows up this year, very good player for Iowa State, they probably have to shoulder a little more of the load and win enough games for him to matter. But Will McDonald, really, really good player for the Cyclones.”
Pate added, “Do I have bias there? Of course I do. I openly root for Iowa State,” before adding this quip, “I think it’s also fitting that his last name represents a restaurant with the same color scheme as the team he plays for!”
McDonald announced at the end of the 2021 regular season that he would be returning for his senior season in Ames.
McDonald’s is the all-time leader at Iowa State with 29 sacks. He also broke his own school single-season record with 11.5 sacks in 2021. He he was named a first-team All-Big 12 selection by Heartland College Sports, along with being named a third-team AP All-American.
The Iowa State defense has been one of the best in the Big 12 in recent seasons under defensive coordinator Jon Heacock, and while there are plenty of pieces leaving from the 2021 team, bringing back the best pass rusher in the Big 12 is a big lift for Matt Campbell’s team as they look to get back into the conference title race next season.
And now that Josh Pate has hyped him up a bit, expect McDonald’s name to surface beyond Iowa State and Big 12 circles, where we already have named him one of the top 2023 NFL Draft prospects in the conference.