AMES, Iowa (AP) Standout Iowa State wide receiver Allen Lazard will return for his senior season.
Lazard caught 69 passes as a junior in 2015, including seven for touchdowns, and his 1,018 yards rank third in school history. Lazard also averaged seven catches for 114 yards in his final five games, coinciding with quarterback Jacob Park's elevation to the starting job.
The 6-foot-5, 220-pound Lazard, who grew up in nearby Urbandale, Iowa, was one of the most highly sought recruits the Cyclones ever landed in 2014. Lazard has lived to his promise, with 170 career grabs for 2,419 yards. The Cyclones finished 3-9 in 2016 despite averaging nearly 30 points in conference games, a program-high since the Big 12 was formed.
''Our football team made a lot of strides this past year,'' Lazard said. ''Coach (Matt) Campbell has this program going in the right direction and the enthusiasm and excitement within the locker room is extremely high.''
Lazard's return will boost expectations in 2017 for Iowa State, which made strides this season despite winning just two league games.
The Cyclones will also bring back talented left tackle Jake Campos, who broke his leg early in fall camp and missed all of last season. Park and backup Joel Lanning are expected to return, as are running back David Montgomery and young receiver DeShaunte Jones.
Iowa State has holes to fill on defense, and its offensive line could be in flux until September because of graduations, the development of younger players and some possible additions through transfers.
But Lazard's return is a big boost to a program hoping to reach its first bowl game since 2013 next season.
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