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Norton, Sanders among list of Cyclones to announce transfer plans

Eli+Sanders+during+warmups+prior+to+the+game+against+Cincinnati+at+Nippert+Stadium+in+Cincinnati+on+Oct.+14%2C+2023.
Tyler Coe
Eli Sanders during warmups prior to the game against Cincinnati at Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati on Oct. 14, 2023.

With transfer announcements heating up, Iowa State running backs Cartevious Norton and Eli Sanders became additions to the portal Monday.

Both Norton and Sanders were absent in Iowa State’s 42-35 win over Kansas State. The lack of the two running backs was a major factor in true freshman Abu Sama’s breakout performance.

The running backs’ announcements came on a day that saw a slew of Iowa State players make similar announcements. Tight end DeShawn Hanika was the first to announce his plans to transfer with defensive back Treyveon McGee and wide receiver Greg Gaines III following.

Both Norton and Sanders had stints as Iowa State’s starting running backs throughout the season. Norton took over the lead role at the start of the season.

In Norton’s time on the field, he rushed for 343 yards and three touchdowns while averaging 3.9 yards per carry. Norton dealt with injury last season, which showed up again in the middle part of the 2023 season.

Sanders also saw issues with injury to start the season, as he did not get going until the start of conference play. Sanders took over the lead back role through the majority of the Big 12 season, rushing for 477 yards and four touchdowns on 4.7 average yards per carry.

The two running backs combined for a total of 189 carries throughout the season. In comparison, Sama, the third-string back for the majority of the season, ran the ball 72 times, although he rushed for a team-leading 610 yards and six touchdowns on his limited snaps.

Norton and Sanders missed the trip to Kansas State, which sparked transfer rumors before the game. Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell said in the postgame press conference that the two were still on the team, but he also said he would imagine the transfer portal was on their mind.

The two backs will officially enter the transfer portal Dec. 4 when it opens, as they announced on X, formerly known as Twitter. With the transfer season getting started, the two running backs will be some of the first pieces to fall for Iowa State as the team looks ahead to a bowl game in the coming months.

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