Cy­clones need in­stant im­pact

Trans­fers ex­pected to fill big void on de­fen­sive line.

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS -

— One of Iowa State’s big­gest ques­tions en­ter­ing pre­sea­son prac­tice was its de­fen­sive line.

The Cy­clones are hop­ing to see three ju­nior col­lege trans­fers emerge as qual­ity Big 12 play­ers as soon as pos­si­ble.

Iowa State (3-9 in 2016) was hit hard by at­tri­tion, los­ing starters De­mond Tucker, Jhaustin Thomas and Mitchell Mey­ers to grad­u­a­tion. The Cy­clones re­sponded by hit­ting the trans­fer mar­ket, sign­ing Matt Leo, Ray Lima and Kamilo Tong­amoa in the off­sea­son.

Tong­amoa hasn’t ar­rived on cam­pus yet be­cause he’s fin­ish­ing up aca­demic work. But coach Matt Camp­bell said Mon­day, when the Cy­clones held their first fall prac­tice, that Tong­amoa is ex­pected to be in Ames this week.

“It’s not a shock to any­one. We kind of knew this was the sit­u­a­tion,” Camp­bell said.

Count­ing on ju­nior col­lege trans­fers to make an im­me­di­ate im­pact can be dicey — es­pe­cially in an area as im­por­tant as de­fen­sive line.

Still, Iowa State beat out schools it usu­ally doesn’t beat to land all three of them.

Leo, who will turn 25 Satur­day, grew up in Aus­tralia play­ing rugby be­fore mov­ing to the U.S. to give foot­ball a try. He blos­somed at Ari­zona Western Com­mu­nity Col­lege in 2016 and chose Iowa State over Ok­la­homa, among oth­ers.

Leo, who joined the Cy­clones for spring prac­tice, is listed as a backup at tackle.

“He’s ex­cited. Healthy,” Camp­bell said. “Re­ally ex­cited to get him into some needed (rep­e­ti­tions) that he’ll need all fall.”

The 6-foot-3, 310-pound Lima, a red­shirt sopho­more, picked the Cy­clones over Ore­gon and TCU.

Tong­amoa, who is 6-5 and 290 pounds, led all Cal­i­for­nia ju­nior col­lege play­ers with 25 tack­les for loss last sea­son for Poly Tech and turned down Ok­la­homa State and Texas to play for the Cy­clones.

But as prac­tice be­gan Mon­day, only Lima — who is pen­ciled in as the first-team nose guard — is listed as a starter.

The Cy­clones have two ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers at end re­turn­ing, led by sopho­more JaQuan Bai­ley. He was one of the na­tion’s top ends as a fresh­man, with 3½ sacks and six tack­les for loss.

Bai­ley and se­nior J.D. Wag­goner, whose 2016 sea­son ended with a shoul­der in­jury af­ter just five games, en­tered fall camp as first-team­ers.

Though its de­fen­sive line is in flux, Iowa State should be deeper there than it was a year ago.

“You can breathe a lit­tle bit,” Camp­bell said. “Last year, ev­ery time you went out to prac­tice you were hop­ing (some­one) didn’t get hurt. I think now you can com­pete.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.