Iowa State football names 2019 captains


Then-freshman quarterback Brock Purdy warms up during a timeout in the second half of the Valero Alamo Bowl on Dec. 29. Purdy continued on to be Iowa State’s unquestioned starter entering the 2019 season.

Noah Rohlfing

One week before the No. 21 Cyclones take the field in their season opening game against Northern Iowa, coach Matt Campbell announced the team’s five captains.

On the offensive side of the ball, senior offensive lineman Josh Knipfel and sophomore starting quarterback Brock Purdy were made captains. 

“You couldn’t ask for a better group of leaders,” Campbell said. “These guys have earned respect from their peers on the field and off the field, and have been catalysts in helping improve the culture inside our locker room.”

Knipfel has started 26 straight games at the right guard position and was an Honorable Mention All-Big 12 player in 2018. 

Purdy burst onto the scene for Iowa State in 2018 in the Cyclones’ 48-40 win over Oklahoma State and held onto the starting job since, setting an NCAA freshman record for passing efficiency (169.9). The fact that Purdy is a captain as a true sophomore speaks to the standing he has in the Iowa State locker room. 

The defensive captains are senior defensive tackle Ray Lima, junior safety Greg Eisworth and senior linebacker Marcel Spears Jr. 

Lima — who will be wearing No. 58 this season in honor of the late Curtis Bray — has been praised by Campbell as the catalyst for the Iowa State program’s culture change in his four years at the school. Lima was also a captain for last year’s team.

Like Knipfel, Spears Jr. has started in 26 straight games at outside linebacker for the Cyclones and is a two-time All-Big 12 selection.

Eisworth came to Iowa State in 2018 as a junior college transfer and forced his way into the starting lineup almost immediately, gaining the reputation as a hard hitter and winning the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year award.

The Cyclones kick off the 2019 season against the Panthers at 11 a.m. Aug. 31, with TV coverage from Fox Sports 1.