A long time coming: Allen Lazard officially signs with Iowa State

Urbandale senior Allen Lazard, who sits with his parents Kevin and Mary, mock signs his National Letter of Intent after officially becoming a member of the Iowa State football program in the fall of 2014.

Alex Halsted

URBANDALE, Iowa — In the end, Allen Lazard finished where everything started: in his Urbandale family room on the phone with Paul Rhoads and committed to playing football at Iowa State.

The marquee signee for the ISU football team’s 2014 recruiting class made his commitment official early Feb. 5 as he trekked through the snowy roads and bitter cold before 7 a.m. to Urbandale High School, where he signed his national letter of intent.

“It was just a big relief. Just weight off my shoulders,” Lazard said after he faxed his letter to the football offices in Ames. “Now I can just relax and hopefully just enjoy my senior year as a high schooler.”

Before Lazard signed the paperwork, he found himself in his family room the night before on the phone with Rhoads. He was sitting in the same spot as he did while on the phone with the sixth-year coach when he offered him a scholarship to play at Iowa State back in 2012.

“The first time when I called him and I received my offer was after my sophomore year and I was very ecstatic. I realized I just got a football scholarship and my dreams were coming true getting to play college football,” Lazard said. “Last night it was kind of going through the same thing.

“It was a little deja vu I guess, realizing this is where it started and this is where it ended, too.”

Lazard — a 6-foot-5 receiver ranked No. 47 in the 2014 recruiting class by Rivals.com — verbally committed to Iowa State in December 2012. Other schools still sought him out through his senior season, and Lazard listened.

He made an official visit to Notre Dame in October, and questions about whether or not the Iowa native would change his mind popped up on message boards and across social media. Lazard was asked about it everywhere he went, and he heard constant feedback via text message and Twitter.

“Any way you can think of,” Lazard said, “they probably asked it.”

Lazard remained adamant he wanted to be a Cyclone, that listening to other schools was an emergency option. He followed through Feb. 5, signing on as the headliner of the 2014 class for Iowa State.

A fiery Rhoads held up Lazard’s letter of intent that afternoon as he announced the Cyclones’ group of 25 commitments.

“(He was) true to his word of 14 months,” Rhoads said. “He’s not going to a school in northern Indiana — boy, they wasted a lot of time and money. He’s not going to another school in this state who feverishly tried to call him about a half a dozen times in the last week.

“He’s going right here to Iowa State University.”

Lazard will join his brother, redshirt sophomore linebacker Anthony Lazard, on the team at Iowa State. He also follows in the footsteps of his father, Kevin, who played at Iowa State from 1990-93.

During his senior season at Urbandale, Lazard caught 46 passes for 1,065 yards and 16 touchdowns. Following his senior season, the three-time First-Team All-State player was named to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, which was played in San Antonio, Texas last month.

“His size is an attribute that a lot of other receivers don’t have, and I think that would be the most obvious thing within his game,” said Urbandale coach Sam Anderson of Lazard’s skillset. “To add on to that, he’s got a great vertical, he’s got great speed. I had an opportunity to watch him go up against the top players in the country and he stacked up just fine with those guys.

“He’s an all-around complete ballplayer.”

Rhoads said Feb. 5, after saying Lazard would be off-limits to the media during his freshman season, he is one of two true freshmen he initially can envision playing immediately in 2014.

Before then, he has other business to finish.

“I have to focus on, right now, finishing my high school basketball season and then it’s football from there on out,” Lazard said. “After basketball’s done, I’m just going to train, get in the weight room as much as I can, get faster, bigger, stronger and hopefully compete for playing time next year.”

Questions about where he will end up, though, are finished. Lazard is headed to Ames, and he sees a bright future from the onset of next fall.

“We’ve got a lot of returning guys. That’s a very big positive,” Lazard said. “I think we have a very explosive group and we have some big things to do next year.”