Iowa State Cyclones

Iowa State Ranked Among On3’s Top 10 Safety Units for 2024

Nov 12, 2022; Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma State's Jaden Bray (85) can not get to a pass as Iowa State's Beau Freyler (17) prepares to intercept it as Iowa State's Myles Purchase (5) defends in the second quarter during the college football game between the Oklahoma State Cowboys (OSU) and the Iowa State Cyclones at Boone Pickens Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sarah Phipps-USA TODAY Sports

The heat of “Preseason List” season is upon us, as Way-Too-Early Top 25s and opening national title odds are old news and we begin to switch gears to the 2024 football season.

On3 has been releasing a very popular series of lists where they rank the Top 10 position units in college football. On Friday, Jesse Simonton dove into the best safety groups in the country, and one Big 12 program made the list.

Iowa State checks in at No. 7 on the list thanks to a trio of returning veterans in the back end of the Cyclones’ defense.


Iowa State has had one of the Big 12’s top defensive units since Jon Heacock took over as the defensive coordinator in 2016. In 2024, he might return one of the better groups of safties that he’s had, as Simonton alludes to.

“Jeremiah Cooper, Beau Freyler, and Malik Verdon are all back in 2024, and Iowa State doesn’t lack available options behind their starting unit, either,” Simonton writes. “Cooper recorded double-digit pass deflections, and as a group, they combined for 10 interceptions. The Cyclones are also high on backups Jamison Patton and Ta’Shawn James, who reportedly had a big spring.”

He also pointed out that Iowa State had the Big 12’s best-passing defense, in terms of yards per attempt, in 2023, and having the trio of Cooper, Freyler, and Verdon back should help that carry over into 2024.

The Cyclones’ in-state rivals, the Iowa Hawkeyes, are ranked No. 1 on the list, followed by Ohio State, Georgia, Notre Dame, and Penn State, who rounds out the top five. USC is just ahead of Iowa State at No. 6, while Oregon, Alabama, and Texas are eight through 10.

Ole Miss, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Purdue, and Texas A&M are listed among the “best of the rest” in the safeties category.

Most Popular

To Top