Iowa State adds seven junior college players in signing class

Three of the Cyclone football junior college recruits, Gabe Luna, Devron Moore and Jordan Harris, listen to coach Paul Rhoads speak during the National Signing Day press conference Feb. 5. The three recruits enrolled in classes at Iowa State this January and will play defense in the fall.

Maddy Arnold

Gabe Luna had the opportunity to go to a Division I college right out of high school, but he didn’t take it.

The defensive end said he was only offered walk-on spots, so he chose the junior college route instead. After playing at Butler Community College, Luna finally got to the chance to join a Division I college football team.

“I knew in my head that I was good enough go to a Division I program,” Luna said on National Signing Day on Wednesday. “[Junior college] helped me a with lot of things. It helped me physically mature better and mentally get better as well.”

Luna, along with 24 other recruits, signed to play for the ISU football team next season. The class that signed Wednesday included seven junior college players — six on defense alone — and 18 players out of high school. ISU coach Paul Rhoads’ recruits are ranked as a consensus top 60 class.

Three of the junior college players decided to attend Iowa State early and are already enrolled in classes. Luna along with linebacker Jordan Harris and safety Devron Moore have already joined the team.

“There is mental toughness and then there’s mental understanding,” Rhoads said. “These three are going to be ahead certainly from a mental understanding point because they’re going to get coached. They’re going to get coached in the winter and they’re going to get coached all spring ball long.”

Harris — who attended Copiah-Lincoln Community College — led the Junior College Athletic Association in tackles last season. He averaged almost 14 per game on his way to a second team All-American distinction.

After receiving offers from many other schools, Harris committed to Iowa State. He is the only junior college linebacker and one of four linebackers that Iowa State signed Wednesday.

“[He is] a guy that’ll knock people’s fillings loose,” Rhoads said. “He’s productive. He led the country in tackles at the junior college level. He shows up and plays very physical. He’s got that mental approach to the game. He’s very smart.”

Moore is the third newcomer that has already arrived at Iowa State. He attended Northeastern Oklahoma A&M before choosing to play at Iowa State over multiple other Big 12 schools including West Virginia, Texas Tech and TCU.

Moore said he’s already working out with the ISU coaching staff in his short time at Iowa State. He said he’s been adjusting to the new level of football by focusing on gaining weight this off-season.

“It’s a lot different because they’re worried about just regular fundamentals,” Moore said. “They’re more worried about that. You work hard, but they’re making sure you do it right. It wasn’t like that in junior college.”

In addition to the three already on campus, four more junior college players will attend Iowa State in the fall. Rhoads said he used junior college transfers to address areas of need in the roster and all seven should get a chance to play immediately next season.

“Six on defense, we needed depth there. We needed some experience injected with those guys, and so I think all six of those guys will have an opportunity to compete,” Rhoads said. “I think [Wendell Taiese will] have an opportunity on the offensive line as well.”