Iowa State wraps up best recruiting class in recent history

Iowa State head football coach Matt Campbell congratulates defensive back Jarnor Jones as his name is called for senior night before Iowa State’s game against West Virginia on Nov. 26 at Jack Trice Stadium. West Virginia defeated Iowa State by a final score of 49-19.

Aaron Marner

Iowa State wrapped up its 2017 football recruiting class Wednesday. At his National Signing Day press conference, coach Matt Campbell said he takes a great deal of pride in the recruiting class the coaching staff assembled.

The Cyclones’ 2017 class got its first commitment over a year ago when Waterloo, Iowa, quarterback Devon Moore verbally committed to Iowa State.

Since then, 25 more players have signed on to join Iowa State. Multiple recruiting outlets say the 2017 recruiting class is the best Iowa State class since recruiting rankings began over a decade ago.

Rivals ranked the class the 40th best in the nation, which makes it the best Iowa State class since Rivals began in 2004. 247Sports gave the class a .8427 composite ranking, the best ranking an Iowa State class has received since 247Sports began the ranking in 2007.

“This is always an interesting day for me,” Campbell said. “I know every coach gets up across the country right now and brags about their recruiting class. I think the biggest thing for me is the pride that I take out of today of taking another step and building the culture the way we want our football program to look like and feel like.”

The class is highlighted by seven offensive linemen and seven defensive linemen. Three of Iowa State’s seven defensive line commits — Ray Lima, Matt Leo and Kamilo Tongamoa — came from the junior college ranks.

Campbell spoke highly of the trio.

“These guys have the ability to help our football team right away,” Campbell said.

In addition to a number of junior college signees who can help right away, Iowa State signed a pair of graduate transfers on the offensive line.

Dave Dawson, a 6-foot-3, 330-pound lineman, is transferring from Michigan. Former USC Trojan Khaliel Rodgers checks in at 6 foot 3, 315 pounds. 

One of the main focuses for the coaching staff has been recruiting the Midwest.

Fourteen members of the 2017 class are from the Midwest, Campbell said. Campbell also pointed out the six signees from the state of Iowa and said it is “really important for us to put a dent in recruiting this state.”

Among those six Iowa signees are a pair of offensive linemen in Alex Kleinow (North Liberty, Iowa) and Colin Newell (Ames). Both Kleinow and Newell had scholarship offers from other Midwest schools but chose Iowa State.

“I couldn’t say enough about all six of those guys,” Campbell said. “I think all six have high-end potential.”

The big names

Iowa State signed a number of highly-rated high school prospects in this class. Here are a few of the most notable high school signees.

The gem of the class might be wide receiver Josh Johnson from Little Rock, Arkansas. Johnson, a four-star recruit, according to ESPN, had offers from the likes of Notre Dame, Oklahoma State and Minnesota, according to 247Sports.

Iowa State beat out teams like Iowa, Wisconsin and Cincinnati for safety Keontae Jones (Cincinnati, Ohio). Keontae is the younger brother of Cyclone wide receiver Deshaunte Jones.

Cordarrius Bailey (Clarksdale, Mississippi) is one of Iowa State’s most intriguing defensive signees. Bailey, a 6-foot-4 defensive lineman, had offers from Louisville, Memphis and Mississippi State, according to 247Sports.

Linebacker O’Rien Vance (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) is the highest rated in-state signee. Rated as the No. 28 outside linebacker by 247Sports, Vance will challenge for playing time right away.