Iowa State spring wrap

May, 9, 2012
5/09/12
10:00
AM ET
2011 overall record: 6-7

2011 conference record: 3-6
Returning starters: Offense (7), Defense (5), P/K (1)

Top returners: RB James White, LB A.J. Klein, LB Jake Knott, QB Jared Barnett, QB Steele Jantz, WR Josh Lenz, WR Aaron Horne

Key losses: OL Kelechi Osemele, WR Darius Reynolds, CB Leonard Johnson, DE Jake Lattimer, DL Stephen Ruempolhamer

2011 statistical leaders (*returners)

Rushing: James White* (743 yards)
Passing: Steele Jantz* (1,519 yards)
Receiving: Darius Reynolds (695 yards)
Tackles: A.J. Klein* (117)
Sacks: Patrick Neal (3.5)
Interceptions: Ter'Ran Benton (3)

Three spring answers

1. Jerome Tiller's not pouting: Tiller sat out 2011 after being academically ineligible, and as such, became a nonfactor in the quarterback race, even though he was the likely successor to Austen Arnaud. Tiller came back with a vengeance this spring ... at receiver. He caught five passes for 44 yards, but don't be surprised to see him put up those kinds of numbers during the season. Nice to see him bounce back.

2. The linebacker spot is in good hands: Jake Knott missed the spring after offseason shoulder surgery, but the linebackers put on a show during the spring. Jevohn Miller played well in Knott's absence, but Jeremiah George was one of the most improved players on the team during the spring. Knott and Klein will be senior stars, but Iowa State's linebacker tradition will carry on when they leave.

3. The offense isn't changing: Offensive coordinator Tom Herman left to take the same job at Ohio State, but replacement Courtney Messingham isn't messing with much in the offense. There will be subtle changes, sure, but mostly to suit whoever wins the QB job. The version of the spread ISU uses has a lot of zone read concepts, and that will continue with either. What the passing game looks like will be a little different.

Three fall questions

1. Who will be the quarterback? Jared Barnett and Steele Jantz both had their moments in 2011. Both went 3-0 in their first three starts. Jantz had three fourth-quarter comebacks and Barnett grabbed one of the biggest wins in school history against OSU to get ISU bowl eligible. Jantz was turnover-prone, however, and Barnett struggled with consistency. The competition is still wide open heading into fall camp.

2. What's the status of Shontrelle Johnson? Johnson's the biggest home run hitter on the offense, but he's been out since early last season with a neck injury. His status is still in doubt. James White filled in nicely last year, but Johnson can take the offense to another level. Iowa State hopes he can get back, but nothing's promised.

3. Who's the new No. 1 receiver? Jantz loved Darius Reynolds early in the season, but Aaron Horne and Josh Lenz were more productive with Barnett late in the season. Reynolds is gone, but who's the new go-to guy in the passing game? It could be either.

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