The 2018 Cyclones got off to a shaky 1-3 start, with losses to rival Iowa and fifth ranked Oklahoma. Coach Campbell would get his squad turned around, as Iowa State rattled off five straight wins afterwards, which included victories over ranked Big 12 foes Oklahoma State and West Virginia. During that run, the Cyclones made an appearance in the AP Top 25 poll, peaking at number 18. The season would unfortunately end on a sour note, as ISU fell to Washington State 28-26 in the Alamo Bowl.
Chapter 1 was sweet but chapter 2….? pic.twitter.com/0fQ232mTaa
?Tarique Milton? (@ElamarDaGreat) February 15, 2019
Quarterback Brock Purdy will look to build on a promising freshman season, and will have a senior heavy offensive line to protect him. Leading that group are fifth year senior tackles Julian Good-Jones and Bryce Meeker.
Iowa State’s top returning receivers are redshirt sophomore Tarique Milton and senior Deshaunte Jones, both of whom combined for just 783 receiving yards, 77 catches, and five touchdowns. Running back Kene Nwangwu is projected to top the depth chart at his position, but he could face competition from Sheldon Croney Jr. and Johnnie Lang.
The defense returns a ton of talent from last year, as coordinator Jon Heacock will aim to have his unit rank higher than 37th in the nation. Top tackler Greg Eisworth will once again be lurking at safety, partnering up with interception leader Braxton Lewis. Defensive end JaQuan Bailey headlines the defensive line, while middle linebacker Mike Rose is expected to be a key contributor after a solid, 75 tackle freshman season.
With just seven active players on NFL rosters, Iowa State is not exactly a fertile ground for pro talent like Big 12 schools Texas and Oklahoma. With the program on the upswing however, that number could grow in the coming years. Joining the NFL ranks is 1,000 yard rusher David Montgomery, who went to the Chicago Bears in the third round. Top receiver Hakeem Butler also left school early for the pros, where he will be catching passes from Kyler Murray in Arizona.
Other key losses include the graduation of defenders Brian Peavy and Willie Harvey, as well as quarterback Kyle Kempt, who started before Purdy took over. ISU’s other signal caller from 2018, Zeb Noland, elected to transfer to FCS powerhouse North Dakota State.
Virdel Edwards II (@EdwardsVee) September 13, 2018
Attracting recruits to Ames, Iowa is a tough task, hence Iowa State’s 48th ranked class. As a result, Campbell’s staff must dig for diamonds in the rough and often travel far out of state to find them. Fortunately, the Cyclones were able to haul in running back prospect Jirehl Brock, the second ranked recruit in Illinois. Brock is joined by another solid runner in Breece Hall from Wichita, Kansas along with defensive backs Virdel Edwards and Derrick Miller.
Iowa State also managed to sign a couple of 6-4 receiving targets in wideout Darien Porter and tight end Skylar Loving-Black. Lastly, 6-7 passer Easton Dean joins the quarterback fray in Ames, where he could provide some competition for Purdy in the coming years.
|August 31st||Northern Iowa|
|September 28th||@ Baylor|
|October 12th||@ West Virginia|
|October 19th||@ Texas Tech|
|October 26th||Oklahoma State|
|November 9th||@ Oklahoma|
|November 30th||@ Kansas State|
The Cyclones start off the year with a promising schedule, which features three straight games at Jack Trice Stadium before a winnable road trip to Baylor. Visits to Texas Tech and West Virginia should also be manageable, as both programs are ushering in new head coaches. Although their bye week comes later in the season than most schools, it is conveniently before a crucial showdown against Oklahoma in Norman.
New Jersey residents can log on to 888Sport to wager on Iowa State’s Big 12 championship odds as well as their win total. With an over/under of 8 wins, a breakout season for the Cyclones should not surprise anyone.
Regular season only. Conference championship games do not count.
|Sportsbook||Over 8||Under 8||Link|
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Andre has been writing for WSN since February 2019, covering college basketball and college football. A graduate of Florida State and UNC-Chapel Hill, he lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. When he is not writing, he enjoys playing sports and Magic: The Gathering.
Email: [email protected]More info on Andre Viljoen
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