February 01, 2017

Iowa State will bring back a veteran team in 2017 that, with a few breaks, could finally push for relevance in the Big 12.

Second-year coach Matt Campbell could afford to bring in a recruiting class filled largely with high school players who can take time to develop, and that's exactly what he did Wednesday.

''The biggest thing we did was address the consistent philosophy of our program,'' Campbell said. ''We recruited great character kids and young men who have a great passion for football.''

The Cyclones did address areas of need, bringing in a pair of promising junior college defensive linemen. But for the most part, Campbell signed players who were evaluated as much on mindset as skill set.

Still, Iowa State did sign five four-star recruits while continuing to build depth instead of plugging holes - like it often did in the past.

Other things to know:

Top 25 Class: No.

Best in class: Ray Lima, DL, El Camino Community College (California). Lima is 6-foot-3 and 310 pounds and is expected to start next season after emerging as one of the best defensive tackles in junior college. Lima had a long list of Power Five suitors, and the Cyclones have a glaring need for impact defensive linemen. Fellow junior college lineman Matt Leo should also help in 2017.

Best of the rest: Devon Moore, QB, Waterloo West (Iowa). Players like linebacker O'Rien Vance and wide receiver Josh Johnson might have gotten more buzz, but Moore is one player that Iowa State needs to see fulfill his potential. Moore threw 29 TD passes as a senior and committed to Iowa State on Campbell's first day as coach.

Late addition: Keontae Jones, DB, Colerain (Ohio). Yet another talented prospect Campbell snagged from his home state. His brother, Deshaunte, played extensively as a wide receiver in 2016 and looks like a future star.

One that got away: Kam White, DB, Clinton, Mississippi. A four-star recruit, White gave a verbal commitment to Iowa State before more prestigious programs got involved.

How they'll fit in: In a lot of ways, Campbell is building his program like Kirk Ferentz built his at rival Iowa. Iowa State's latest class is heavy on versatile, three-star kids from the Midwest who came from winning prep programs.


For the full list: http://www.cyclones.com/


More AP college football: www.collegefootball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25 .

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