Iowa State saw success in 2020 despite dealing with the adversity of a COVID-ridden season. The Cyclones went 9-3 and defeated Oregon in the Playstation Fiesta Bowl. In the NFL Draft, the Cyclones saw one player drafted in running back Ken Nwangwu. He went number 119 overall to the Minnesota Vikings in the fourth round. Other players that teams have signed since the draft concluded include tight end Dylan Soehner, signed by the New Orleans Saints and defensive lineman JaQuan Bailey, whom the Philadelphia Eagles picked up.
Expect the Cyclones to have many more players drafted in 2022 after a crop of talented prospects decided to return for another season at Iowa State. Among the outliers is running back Breece Hall, who has gotten attention after a standout 2020 season. Iowa State has a real chance to do some damage in the Big 12 and beyond in their next campaign.
Here are the top five players at Iowa State next season:
Breece Hall, Running Back
Last season, Iowa State's best playmaker was a tough runner who can absorb contact and fight for extra yards. Although he's a bullish runner, he's athletically gifted and can get through his cuts quickly. But make no mistake, opponents would much rather see Hall move east and west because he's a load to handle when he lowers his shoulder. Once he gets past the first level, he's able to turn the burners on and sprint to the endzone. The junior back had 1572 yards and 21 touchdowns in 2020 as a sophomore. Many expect Hall to be one of the top players at his position in next year's NFL Draft.
Charlie Kolar, Tight End
Iowa State has fielded some impressive tight ends in the last few seasons and it's safe to say Kolar is one of the best. He was a top tight end in college football last season due to his ability to get down the field and make plays. Although he is a tight end, he has the frame of a receiver with some added strength. He had 44 receptions and seven touchdowns in the 2020 season and should have continued success in the Cyclones bid for national success next season.
Greg Eisworth, Safety
To say that Eisworth can come up and make a tackle would be an understatement. He's a missile in the run game and is serviceable in pass coverage. Eisworth was named First Team All-Big 12 for three years in a row (2018, 2019, 2020) while racking up 199 tackles, 9.0 TFL, 19 pass breakups and three interceptions in his career.
Eyioma Uwazurike, Defensive Lineman
After earning Honorable Mention All-Big 12 honors in 2019 and 2020, the Detroit native Uwazurike is set for a big season with the Cyclones. He has prototypical NFL defensive line size at 6045 and 283 pounds and could play inside at the next level. He can get up the field well but is not overly athletic enough to rely solely on that aspect of his game. Uwazurike's strength is that he's tough to move around and he's relentless. NFL teams should take notice if he continues to develop during the 2021 season.
Brock Purdy, Quarterback
As the Cyclones' number one quarterback, Purdy has been mentioned among the top 15 college quarterbacks for a few years now, with some folks saying he could be a top ten prospect at that position in next year's NFL Draft. He threw for 19 touchdowns and 2750 yards in 12 games in the 2020 season. Purdy is not the most gifted quarterback among next year's group but has mid-round potential and could be a part of an extraordinary team next year in Ames.