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Matt Campbell’s first Iowa State class mixes freshmen, experience

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Iowa State coach Matt Campbell

Iowa State coach Matt Campbell brings in a recruiting class that some services rank in the top 50, a rarity for the Cyclones.


AMES, Iowa (AP) — Matt Campbell took his first step toward winning over Iowa State fans Wednesday, bringing in a recruiting class that appears to be among the program’s best in recent memory.

The Cyclones signed 36 players, including a handful of junior college newcomers who could push for starting jobs by August. Iowa State’s class of 2016 was even rated among the top 50 nationally by some recruiting publications, a rarity for a school with an historic lack of success.

Experienced newcomers such as defensive backs D’Andre Payne and Thadd Daniels were augmented with the likes of incoming freshmen Sean Foster — the rare consensus four-star recruit to commit to Iowa State out of high school — and 6-foot-6 tight end Chase Allen.

Other things to know:

Best in class

DB D’Andre Payne: He played as a freshman at Tennessee after turning down offers from Michigan, Ohio State, Clemson and others coming out of high school. Payne spent a year at Arizona Western focused on academics before landing at Iowa State, where he is expected to make an immediate impact.

Best of the rest

At 6-foot-8 and 285 pounds, Sean Foster has the pedigree to become Iowa State’s future left tackle. Eyioma Uwazurike has potential as a defensive end, and quarterback Jacob Park is a former Georgia Bulldog who at the very least gives the Cyclones a backup to incumbent Joel Lanning.

Late addition

Twin defensive linemen Jaquan and Joshua Baily, both 6-3, from Jacksonville, Florida. Iowa State always seems to be in need of line help, and getting two three-star recruits from Florida on signing day was considered a coup.

One that got away

John Raridon, a tackle from nearby West Des Moines Valley, chose Nebraska over the Cyclones and the Hawkeyes.

How they’ll fit in

Campbell signed players from nearly 20 states, a sign that he intends to have a national footprint in recruiting. His offensive philosophy will be more run-focused than former coach Paul Rhoads, and no one is quite sure how the Cyclones will attack defensively. But Campbell now has some fresh talent to bolster a veteran group.

Iowa State signees

Chase Allen, TE, 6-6, 225

Arnold Azunna, DB, 5-11, 185

JaQuan Bailey, DE, 6-2, 245

Joshua Bailey, DT, 6-2, 290

Tyler Catalina, OL, 6-5, 303

Thadd Daniels, DB, 6-1, 200

Clifford Fernandez, TE, 6-3, 255

Keenan Forbes, OL, 6-3, 310

Sean Foster, OL, 6-8, 285

Jatairis Grant, DB, 6-0, 180

Karson Green, OL, 6-4, 295

Jamahl Johnson, DT, 6-1, 310

Lonnie Johnson, DB, 6-3, 200

Deshaunte Jones, WR, 5-10, 175

Carson Lensing, ATH, 6-4, 235

Jalen Martin, WR, 6-3, 200

David Montgomery, RB, 5-11, 225

Josh Mueller, OL, 6-6, 280

Jerrion Nelson, DE, 6-2, 260

Zeb Noland, QB, 6-3, 215

Kene Nwangwu, RB, 6-1, 185

Jacob Park, QB, 6-4, 205

D’Andre Payne, DB, 5-10, 186

Dylan Soehner, TE, 6-7, 280

Tymar Sutton, LB, 5-10, 220

Oge Udeogu, OL, 6-3, 330

Eyioma Uwazurike, DE, 6-6, 250

Romelo Webster, DB, 5-10, 170

Lawrence White, DB, 6-0, 170

Steven Wirtel, LS, 6-4, 205

Copyright 2016 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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