The top recruits of Iowa State football’s 2020 class


Garrett Heyd/Iowa State Daily

Iowa State Head Coach Matt Campbell talks to his other coaches during the game against University of Kansas on Nov. 23, 2019. Iowa State won 41-31.

Before Iowa State travels down to Orlando on Dec. 28 to battle No. 14 Notre Dame in the Camping World Bowl, Matt Campbell and the rest of Iowa State football officially welcomed its 2020 recruiting class Wednesday afternoon.

The Cyclones bring in a class of 22 players — including four offensive linemen, four linebackers and two quarterbacks.

Here is a breakdown of some of the top recruits on both sides of the ball, starting with the offense. 


Hunter Dekkers

Dekkers is ranked as Iowa State’s top recruit according to 247Sports composite rankings. Dekkers is a dual-threat quarterback prospect who is Iowa State’s only four-star offensive recruit of the class.

Dekker is ranked as the No. 296-best recruit nationally by 247sports. The Hawarden, Iowa, native is also listed as the No. 12 recruit at the quarterback position. Dekker accumulated 10,628 passing yards in high school along with 126 passing touchdowns.

The success earned him Gatorade Player of the Year honors for the state of Iowa. 

Aidan Bouman

Hailing out of Buffalo, Minnesota, Aidan Bowman is another quarterback recruit and Iowa State’s second highest offensive recruit from the class according to 247Sports. Bowman is listed as a pro-style quarterback and is ranked No. 569 nationally and No. 24 among quarterbacks out of high school.

Daniel Jackson

The No. 608 recruit in the nation and Iowa State’s third highest rated offensive recruit according to 247sports is wide receiver Daniel Jackson. Jackson is 6-foot, 3-inches and from Cibolo, Texas.

He is ranked as the No. 99 receiver of his position group according to 247sports.

Hayden Pauls

Iowa State is losing four starting offensive linemen following the conclusion of the 2019 season. Hayden Pauls — who is listed as the No. 775 recruit in the nation and No. 60 in his position group according to 247sports — will figure to have a hand in plugging that hole as he is Iowa State’s top offensive line recruit. He is listed as a tackle.

Xavier Hutchinson

Xavier Hutchinson is Iowa State’s top junior college transfer on the offensive side of the ball. The 6-foot, 3-inch wide receiver is listed as the No. 74 junior college recruit in the nation and No. 10 among wide receivers according to 247sports.

Other offensive recruits:

Offensive tackle Tyler Miller

Offensive tackle Brady Peterson

Wide receiver T.J. Tampa (Will sign in February)

Offensive tackle Sam Rengert

Wide receiver Aiden Bitter

Wide receiver D’Shayne James

Long snapper Koby Hathcock


Latrell Bankston

One of the biggest losses the Cyclones will have to face come season’s end will be the loss of Ray Lima.

Lima has proved to be one of Iowa State’s top interior defensive lineman the past three seasons and leaves behind a legacy of 10.5 tackles for loss and .5 sacks in a Cyclone uniform.

The Cyclones addressed that concern in a big way with the official signing of Latrell Bankston. While Bankston announced his intent to sign in late November, his signing comes at a time where the Cyclones will be in need of another interior force.

Bankston, a Woodstock, Georgia, native, is a four-star junior college defensive lineman. He is ranked as the No. 3 defensive tackle and the No. 12 junior college player overall by 247Sports. 

“Over the past two seasons, Latrell Bankston proved to not only be one of the best defensive tackles in junior college football, but one of the best players overall,” Campbell said.

His resume speaks volumes as to why Campbell and the Cyclones wanted him.

As a First-Team NJCAA All-American and the Defensive Player of the Year in the Jayhawk Conference, Bankston tormented opposing offenses with his ability to get in the backfield.

This past season as a junior, Bankston had 63 tackles, 22 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks in 2019.

Campbell said in a press release the 6-foot, 300-pound Bankston will bring lots of toughness and physicality to a defensive line that is losing Ray Lima at season’s end.

Cole Pedersen

Iowa State added another highly ranked recruit to its linebacker depth chart behind Mike Rose and O’Rien Vance in Central Decatur native Cole Pedersen.

Pedersen is ranked as the fourth-best player in Iowa according to 247Sports and os the No. 347 player nationally. 

Campbell sees Pedersen’s skillset fitting right in with what Iowa State needs going forward. 

“He is one of the best athletes in the state of Iowa and has a tremendous skillset and outstanding football knowledge that will translate to the Big 12 conference,” Campbell said in a press release. 

Pedersen is a two-time all-state selection at Central Decatur and is one of four Iowa recruits in the 2020 recruiting class.

Craig McDonald  

This 6-foot, 2-inch, 190-pound defensive back had many offers on the table from multiple high-level midwest schools, but McDonald announced his intent in early June to play for the Cyclones.

When it came time to choose, McDonald chose Iowa State over other midwest schools such as Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota.

Hailing from Minneapolis, McDonald was named defensive MVP of the Minnesota High School All-Star game.

He is rated as the 59th-best safety in the 2020 class by 247Sports. 

Other defensive recruits:

Safety Michal Antoine 

Safety Mason Chambers

Linebacker Dae’Shawn Davis

Safety Jordyn Morgan

Defensive Lineman J.R. Singleton

Linebacker Ar’Quel Smith

Defensive End Johnny Wilson

Linebacker Hunter Zenzen