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Iowa State Daily

Standout players from the Iowa State Spring Game

Tyler Coe
Kyle Konrardy readies a field goal during the Spring Game at Jack Trice Stadium on April 20, 2024.

AMES — With multiple starters taking a back seat in the Iowa State Spring Game, young players from both sides of the ball emerged as promising talents for the upcoming season.

Cyclone fans got their first taste of some young players that could end up being impact players for the team in the upcoming season.

With more than a dozen extra practices under their belts, new and more experienced players put on impressive performances to catapult themselves in their respective competitions at their positions.

Dylan Lee – Running back

With Abu Sama III not receiving any carries during Saturday’s scrimmage, other tailbacks were given the opportunity to make plays. Although guys like Easton Miller and AJ Petersen had some nice plays, no one stood out from that room more than true freshman Dylan Lee.

Highlighted by a 17-yard cutback touchdown, Lee finished the day with 84 yards on 17 carries. On multiple runs against the Iowa State defense, Lee kept the play alive with elusive cuts and the ability to bounce off defenders.

“He’s got the ability to make plays after the first hit, and I think he has got great vision,” head coach Matt Campbell said.

Since joining the Cyclones in spring ball, Lee has grown a lot according to his teammates, which allowed him to perform well against a veteran defense Saturday.

“In the early parts of spring ball [Lee] runs the ball like nobody is out there, so he had to get used to slowing his head down,” quarterback Rocco Becht said. “He was able to do that [Saturday], and I liked what I saw out of him.”

Lee’s ability to look for the open hole was on full display in the Cyclones’ Spring Game, and offers a lot of promise for the running back room.

While Sama will likely end up being the starting back, there will be a lot of guys, along with Lee, looking for the remaining carries. Lee asserted himself as a favorite for the second spot on the running back depth chart Saturday and has had an impressive spring season according to Campbell.

“There will be a lot of competition come fall camp, but I think [Lee] has been a guy that has certainly flashed,” Campbell said.

Kyle Konrardy – Kicker

Following the departure of Chase Contreraz, Iowa State again entered the offseason with a hole at kicker. But after an impressive performance from walk-on redshirt freshman Kyle Konrardy, the Iowa native emerged as a favorite for the starting job.

In unfavorable weather with winds blowing against him, Konrardy connected on four of his five field goal attempts, including three connections over 40 yards.

“[Konrardy] has been super impressive, he’s had a really great 15 practices,” Campbell said.

The lone miss for Konrardy came on a 47-yard attempt, but he quickly bounced back with connections from 42 and 34 yards to end his day. He had no attempts during the 2023 season and did not make an appearance in any games to secure his redshirt.

Even with an impressive performance in the Spring Game, Konrardy is determined to build off this outing as the competition for the starting role continues.

“There is a lot of pressure, but we handle pressure here and there so got to keep working,” Konrardy said.

Ta’Shawn James – Defensive back

In what is now a deep and more experienced secondary, Ta’Shawn James emerged as a playmaker for the Cyclones’ defense. The redshirt freshman led the team in total tackles (8) including a tackle for a loss of three yards.

James and other members of the secondary locked down the passing game for quarterbacks JJ Kohl, Connor Moberly, Tanner Hughes and Major Cantrell. The Cyclone offense was held to 103 passing yards during the scrimmage, with the longest completion going for 16 yards.

While James had an impressive day against the second and third teams for the Iowa State offense, the safety room still has a lot of returning talent to compete against to earn time on the field.

Players like Jeremiah Cooper and Beau Freyler headline the talented safety room for the Cyclones, but James and other young players have emerged during spring practices.

“We feel like we have got maybe at that safety position seven or eight guys who are going to compete to start,” Campbell said.

Given the scheme that defensive coordinator Jon Heacock runs with several defensive backs on the field, competition and depth at the safety position in the spring shows a lot of promise for the upcoming season.

“We are going to have to have more than just a starting five in the secondary,” Campbell said. “We are going to have two deep plus to be able to survive the football season.”

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    Greg Wilson | Apr 22, 2024 at 10:35 am

    Even though the Spring game had cold and nasty weather, watching Dylan Lee do some truly impressive running made the outing worth it. Blazing speed and very smart awareness of the field on several plays let us all know that our running back room has serious talent.