Recruiting notebook: Iowa pipeline, running back depth and what’s next at offensive line


Mikinna Kerns/Iowa State Daily

Quarterback Brock Purdy hands the ball off to running back David Montgomery during the 2nd half of the ISU vs WV Game Oct. 13. Iowa State Defeated West Virginia 14-30

Noah Rohlfing

Wednesday kicked off the early signing period in college football, the start of a three-day window for recruits to sign letters of intent before the February signing day. Iowa State had a busy day, inking 20 players and pulling together a class which has the chance to be Iowa State’s highest-rated in school history. 

Here’s what coach Matt Campbell and recruiting coordinator/tight ends coach Alex Golesh had to say on Wednesday night:

Focusing on Iowa kids

Recruiting a team’s home state is always important, even if in some states (like Iowa) there isn’t an abundance of blue-chip talent each year. 

The Cyclones have put an emphasis on this in their recruiting since Campbell and company arrived, and the team added three more signees in the 2019 class: offensive lineman Jake Remsburg of Valley High School in West Des Moines, Bettendorf wide receiver Darien Porter and Solon linebacker Coal Flansburg. 

Campbell said it was important for Iowa State to make its mark in Iowa and keep talent in-state. 

“That’s critical to your success,” Campbell said. “That’s something that we’ve really put a foundational principal on, in terms of starting our recruiting process.”

That push and drive to protect its backyard recruiting is something that can resonate with in-state players — particularly with all five starters on the offensive line being Iowa natives — and as future classes come together, don’t be shocked if more Iowa prospects wind up in the staff’s crosshairs. 

Talented running backs ease pressure on post-Montgomery offense

Whether it’s after the Dec. 28 Alamo Bowl or after the 2019 season, David Montgomery will be departing from Iowa State and leaving a large shadow in his wake. 

Who will be up to the task of replacing one of the best running backs in Iowa State’s football history? 

If Campbell is correct, it might very well be one of the backs in the 2019 class. The Cyclones signed three players they designated as running backs: four-star recruits Jirehl Brock (Quincy, Illinois) and Breece Hall (Witchita, Kansas), along with three-star athlete Leonard Glass of Fresno, California. 

Signing three running backs doesn’t necessarily mean Montgomery is going to the NFL, Campbell said, but the Cyclones wanted “the best players they could get.”

Campbell seemed impressed with Glass’s versatility.

“We’re really excited about all three of those kids,” Campbell said. “[Glass] brings a lot to the table, as multiple as anyone we’ve recruited in a long time.”

Four new offensive linemen

The Cyclones had struggles throughout the season on the offensive line, shuffling the starting lineup multiple times and remaining as one of Iowa State’s biggest team weaknesses. Campbell continues to mention a strong offensive line as a reason for his success rushing the ball when coaching at Toledo.

In an attempt to remedy that, the Cyclones signed four offensive lineman into what is already a youthful and crowded offensive line room: Remsburg, Jarrod Hufford (Newark, Ohio), Darrell Simmons (East St. Louis, Illinois) and Grant Treiber (Sioux Falls, South Dakota). 

All four hail from the Midwest, and Golesh said that wasn’t really a coincidence. 

“We got the guys we went after,” Golesh said. “Tough, gritty Midwest kids, but I think more than that, we feel like we know anything and everything about them.

“At that position, the less you miss the better.”

The Cyclones are still trying to find their way in the offensive trenches, despite small incremental growth each of the past two seasons. Iowa State is hoping that this class can help give that position group a boost in the future.