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Rhoads Says Iowa State Signed Winners

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Iowa State head football coach Paul Rhoads says he signed players who know how to win. Something Iowa State needs to do more of right away. ISU was 0-9 in the Big 12 this past season, and has just 5 wins in two years.

The Cyclones need help right away, and that's one reason Rhoads and staff signed up six junior college transfers. Overall, it's 25 future Cyclones. Rivals ranks ISU's class 10th in the Big 12, or last.  Michael Admire reports.

And here is the news release from ISU Sports Information's Mike Green:

AMES, Iowa – Iowa State head football coach Paul Rhoads is excited about the future of Cyclone football.


Rhoads and Iowa State had 25 players sign National Letters of Intent, as the Cyclones introduced their future stars on the gridiron this afternoon on National Signing Day.


ISU’s 2015 class features six junior college players – many with the ability to compete right away - and 19 prep players.


“We had a great finish with the class of 2015,” Rhoads said. “In previous years, we pretty much had a full understanding of where we were by the middle of January. With this particular class, we were in a lot of fights in the last two weeks leading up to signing day. We closed in tremendous fashion. We picked up much-needed size, physical explosiveness on both lines, great skill in the backfield and overall numbers that were necessary for success in 2015. The big part of this recruiting class, of course, is the facilities here at Iowa State. The impact that is taking place right now in the south end zone of Jack Trice Stadium is not to be understated.”


The future of ISU football will arrive on campus from nine states. The Cyclones signed seven Iowans in their class, including two of the state’s top offensive linemen in Bryce Meeker and Julian Good-Jones.


ISU’s class features five defensive backs, five defensive linemen, five wide receivers, four offensive linemen, three linebackers, two running backs and one quarterback. Seven preps in the class were ranked in the top 100 nationally by Rivals, ESPN or Scout in their respective positions. Running back Joshua Thomas, who was a top-100 national recruit at his position by Scout, was a second-team All-American by MaxPreps.


One of Rhoads’ biggest assignments in the offseason was to shore up the defensive front. He feels a step was made in the right direction by adding Demond Tucker, the 2013 NJCAA Defensive Player of the Year, at mid-year and picking up letters from Bobby Leath, the 14th-best JC defensive tackle nationally by ESPN, and Seth Nerness, a former 8-man player from Murray (Iowa) who was invited to the International Bowl.


“If you’re going to play defense at any level, it starts up front on the defensive line,” Rhoads said. “Defensive linemen are the hardest position to recruit in all of the country. That’s true for every school. We needed to enhance that group and we did that with this class. We’ve done that in the junior college ranks and we’ve done that with high school players. That gives us a chance for immediate impact in 2015 and allows us to develop that entire position group as we head toward 2016 and 2017.”


Four of these Cyclones enrolled in the spring semester at Iowa State and will participate in spring drills: defensive tackle Tucker, a 6-1, 285-pound junior from Hazlehurst, Miss., offensive lineman Patrick Scoggins, a 6-2, 295-pound junior from Inglewood, Calif., defensive back Jarnor Jones, a 6-3, 205-pound junior from Lithonia, Ga., and Jomal Wiltz, a 5-10, 170-pound junior from Galena Park, Texas.


Name                                Ht.             Wt.      Yr.       Pos.          Hometown          

Landen Akers                  6-0             175      Fr.        WR            Cedar Rapids, Iowa (Washington)

Versatile all-state player who racked up 1,320 all-purpose yards and scored TDs in five different ways in 2014.

Jack Bergstrom               6-0             175      Fr.        DB            Johnston, Iowa (Johnston)

Two-sport star at Johnston, earning all-state honors in football and finishing second at the state meet in the 400m hurdles.

Stephon Brown               6-0             170      Fr.        DB            Kissimmee, Fla. (Osceola)

A Top-65 corner according to ESPN; Florida Class 7A first-team all-state selection.

Hakeem Butler                 6-6             215      Fr.        WR            Richmond, Texas (Travis)

All-conference performer in football who was a two-sport standout in both football and basketball.

Josh Coleman                 6-2             250      Fr.        DT             Jacksonville, Fla. (University Christian)

All-state performer in Florida who is listed as the 156th-best defensive tackle in the nation by 24/7 Sports.

Sheldon Croney              5-11           210      Fr.        RB            Bakersfield, Calif. (Ridgeview)

A first-team all-state selection after rushing for 2,271 yards and 32 touchdowns in his senior season.

Dominic DeLira               6-1             180      Fr.        QB            Austin, Texas (Lake Travis)

Ranked as one of the nation’s top-50 QBs according to ESPN; was the District 14-6A Offensive MVP.

Carson Epps                    6-1             205      Fr.        WR            Jenks, Okla. (Jenks)

Helped team win Class 6A state title by setting school records in receptions (66) and receiving yards (1,103).

Jared Gescheidler           6-2             245      Fr.        LB             Ames, Iowa (Gilbert)

A two-time district defensive MVP and two-time all-state selection at Gilbert High School.

Julian Good-Jones         6-5             275      Fr.        OL             Cedar Rapids, Iowa (Washington)

A member of the Des Moines Register’s Elite All-State team in 2014; Co-Offensive MVP of District 4A-6.

De’Amontae Jackson     6-0             285      Fr.        DE             Ocala, Fla. (North Marion)

Two-time all-state selection who is rated as a top-50 inside linebacker nationally by Scout and ESPN.

Denver Johnson              6-3             215      Fr.        WR            Oklahoma City, Okla. (Casady School)

Three-star recruit by Rivals, Scout and ESPN; all-state performer after catching 48 passes for 913 yards and 14 TDs.

Jarnor Jones                   6-3             205      Jr.        DB            Lithonia, Ga. (Martin Luther King/Georgia Military)

Redshirted at N.C. State in 2012; had 40 tackles, 5.0 TFL, eight PBUs and two interceptions at Georgia Military in 2014.

Bobby Leath                    6-3             310      Jr.        DT             Lake Wales, Fla. (Lake Wales/Coffeyville CC)

Ranked as the 14th-best JC defensive tackle by ESPN; all-conference performer on a team ranked in the nation’s top-10.

Bobby McMillen              6-1             215      Fr.        LB             Naperville, Ill. (Central)

Chicago Football Defensive Player of the Year; invited to play in USA Football’s International Bowl.

Bryce Meeker                  6-5             300      Fr.        OL             Cedar Rapids, Iowa (Prairie)

One of the state’s top recruits and a top-150 offensive tackle by Scout; first-team all-state pick by INA.

Seth Nerness                   6-4             235      Fr.        DE             Osceola, Iowa (Southlake Christian Academy [N.C.])

Led team to NCISAA D2 state title while earning all-state honors; invited to play in USA Football’s International Bowl.

Jaypee Philbert               6-4             305      So.       OL             Grayson, Ga. (Archer/Coffeyville CC)

Three-star offensive lineman who will have three years of eligibility; a top-100 JC recruit nationally according to Rivals.

Wyatt Rhoads                  6-0             160      Fr.        WR            Ames, Iowa (Gilbert)

Four-sport athlete who was a two-time all-district performer in football; led team to state playoffs last two seasons.

Patrick Scoggins             6-2             295      Jr.        OL             Inglewood, Calif. (Palos Verdes/Long Beach CC)

Ranked as the No. 7 junior college offensive guard by ESPN; first-team all-conference performer at Long Beach CC.

Marcel Spears                 6-1             215      Fr.        LB             Olathe, Kan. (North)

Ranked as the 72nd-best OLB nationally and top OLB in Kansas by Scout; second-team all-state selection.

Joshua Thomas              5-11           230      Fr.        RB            Buford, Ga. (Buford)

One of the top running backs in the nation, ranking in the top-100 by both ESPN and Scout; MaxPreps All-American.

Demond Tucker              6-1             285      Jr.        DT             Hazelhurst, Miss. (Hazelhurst/Copiah-Lincoln CC)                                   

2013 NJCAA Defensive Player of the Year; ranked as a top-40 national JC recruit by ESPN, Rivals and 24/7 Sports.

Jordan Wallace                6-1             180      Fr.        DB            Denton, Texas (Guyer)

One of the top defensive backs in Texas; named the 78th-best player in Texas by Friday Night Glory; two-time all-district.

Jomal Wiltz                      5-10           170      Jr.        DB            Galena Park, Texas (North Shore/Trinity Valley CC)

Led team to 12-0 record and a No. 2 ranking in the final NJCAA poll; first-team all-SWJCFC performer.