- David Ubben, College Football
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IOWA STATE CYCLONES
Top prospects: The Cyclones' top signee is running back DeVondrick Nealy, and they added another back in Rob Standard. Both are among the nation's top 75 running backs. Tad Ecby is the nation's No. 83 receiver, and Quenton Bundrage and Ted Lampkin will also catch passes for Paul Rhoads. Sam Richardson is the nation's No. 53 quarterback and Jamison Lalk is the nation's No. 104 offensive tackle.
Needs met: Rhoads did this well, adding three receivers among his highest-rated recruits to boost a position that in 2010, was probably one of the Big 12's worst. And Sedrick Johnson, tight end Collin Franklin and Jake Williams are all leaving Ames. Jared Brackens and Sam Richardson should also help a secondary that loses both starting safeties and the top reserve at safety.
Analysis: Iowa State is not a team that's going to go toe-to-toe with Texas and get ready-made talents that can be impact players in the Big 12 immediately. Winning in Ames is about getting guys in the right positions to succeed and developing the talent you can get. Iowa isn't a deep state in terms of talent, and the Cyclones already have to deal with big brother in Iowa City scooping up the state's top talent. As a result, you see five players from Texas, five from California, and four from Florida to compliment the five from Iowa. Iowa State got some talent where they need bodies, and developing that talent will be crucial to continuing what Rhoads has built so far in two seasons with the Cyclones. Their class ranks last in the Big 12, but the Cyclones deal with disadvantages not many others in the Big 12 have to contend with.
ESPN recruiting grade: C-minus