Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Big 12 [Print without images]

Friday, May 6, 2011
Iowa State spring wrap

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

IOWA STATE

2010 overall record: 5-7

2010 conference record: 3-5

Returning starters: Offense (5), Defense (7) P/K (2)

Top returners: LB Jake Knott, LB A.J. Klein, CB Leonard Johnson, CB Ter'Ran Benton, WR Darius Reynolds, RB Shontrelle Johnson, OT Kelechi Osemele

Key losses: QB Austen Arnaud, RB Alexander Robinson, TE Collin Franklin, S David Sims, DB Michael O’Connell

2010 statistical leaders (*returners)

Rushing: Alexander Robinson (946 yards)

Passing: Austen Arnaud (1,703 yards)

Receiving: Collin Franklin (530 yards)

Tackles: Jake Knott (131)

Sacks: Jacob Lattimer* (4)

Interceptions: Jake Knott* (4)

Three spring answers

1. Encouraging signs at receiver. Iowa State’s leading receiver in 2010 was tight end Franklin, not a good sign for explosive plays in a league that demands them. This spring, though, the Cyclones may have a pair of good ones. Juco transfer Aaron Horne made an impact, and Reynolds showed signs of becoming the big-play threat the Cyclones hoped they recruited.

2. No questions about defensive leaders. Linebacker Knott was already a captain. But after having surgery for a broken arm, his first stop? Practice. His 130 tackles last season already said plenty. His clear priority said even more. Neither required words.

3. Nice addition. We’ll see a new-look stadium this fall. The Cyclones are adding a new free-standing structure with an HD video display above the Jacobson Athletic Building in the north end zone. It’s a sharp update and a reason for fans to be excited for the fall.

Three fall questions

1. Who’s the QB? The Cyclones have the Big 12’s most jumbled quarterback situation. Four players are still trying to lay claim to the position, each bringing something a bit different. Jerome Tiller has the most experience, but Steele Jantz, Jared Barnett and James Capello may end up the starter by the end of fall. My money is on Jantz, the fastest of the quartet.

2. Down south blues? Iowa State snuck into a bowl game in 2009 and just missed another berth in 2010 after losing its final three games. It looks like it’ll be on a similar plane in 2011, needing to beat a few teams it isn’t supposed to in order to reach the postseason. Can that happen with a schedule that features nine conference games, including every Big 12 South team? And I didn’t even mention Iowa …

3. Replacing A-Rob? Shontrelle Johnson showed some nice burst last year in spot duty but had a fairly quiet spring. He’s likely to replace the Cyclones’ offensive star the last two seasons, Robinson, but can he keep up with the kind of production that Iowa State got out of its back?