Big 12: Jansen Watson

Breaking down spring camp: Iowa State

March, 20, 2012
3/20/12
9:45
AM ET
Iowa State kicks off spring practice Tuesday. Let's take a closer look.

Schedule: The first of 15 spring practices allowed by the NCAA begins and they'll conclude with the spring game on April 14. Practices are closed to fans and media.

What's new: Offensive coordinator Tom Herman helped Paul Rhoads build his program and take the Cyclones to two bowl games in three years, but he left to take the offensive coordinator job on Urban Meyer's staff at Ohio State. In his place is receivers coach Courtney Messingham, who has lots of experience at lower levels of football, but will be calling plays at the FBS level for the first time.

Key position battle: Kelechi Osemele has been an All-Big 12 stalwart at left tackle for the last three season, but the inevitable happened this offseason: He graduated and moved on to the NFL. Now, Iowa State needs a replacement. Converted tight end Carter Bykowski -- now up to 6-foot-8 and 303 pounds -- could be the man protecting the blind side, but 6-foot-6, 294-pound Kyle Lichtenberg could try to win the job this spring, too. The line also lost right guard Hayworth Hicks, a two-year starter. Jacob Gannon, a 6-foot-7, 286-pound sophomore gets the first crack at replacing him.

On the mend: The front seven. Linebacker Jake Knott will miss the spring after undergoing shoulder surgery. He'll be missed, but replaced by Jevohn Miller. Junior Willie Scott steps in for defensive end Roosevelt Maggitt, who will miss the spring with a knee injury. Cornerback Jeremy Reeves will also miss be limited this spring after undergoing wrist surgery. Look for sophomore Matt Thomas to jump in when Reeves doesn't participate.

Question marks: Cornerbacks. Reeves should be OK, but he's the only returning starter at corner for the Cyclones, and as noted, he'll be in and out during the spring. Junior Jansen Watson draws the tough task of trying to replace NFL-bound Leonard Johnson, one of the most underrated corners in the league last season. You need lots of good corners in this league, and Iowa State still has a lot to prove at the position.

All eyes on: The quarterbacks. Jared Barnett looked like the future in midseason after leading the Cyclones to wins over Texas Tech, Kansas and Oklahoma State, but he faltered down the stretch and was benched for Steele Jantz, who opened the season with three fourth-quarter comeback wins over Northern Iowa, UConn and Iowa. The guess here is it's Barnett's job to lose, but there's no guarantee he won't do exactly that: lose it. The sophomore was streaky last season.

For now, however, the pair are officially listed as co-starters to begin the spring. Looks like we've got a legitimate quarterback battle on our hands for the second consecutive season in Ames.

Big 12 recruiting: Why Kasa chose Buffs over Gators

January, 29, 2009
1/29/09
12:03
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Here's Thursday's installment on the wide, wide world of recruiting.

  • Colorado recruit Nick Kasa told Boulder Daily Camera beat writer Kyle Ringo that he opted for the Buffaloes rather than Florida because he wants to play defense. Kasa said he got vibes from Gators coaches that he eventually would be moved to offensive tackle.
  • Top remaining ESPNU wide receiver recruit Rueben Randle (say that five times quickly!) got a quick tour of the Louisiana Capitol on Thursday from top LSU alumni in the statehouse, the Baton Rouge Advocate's Michelle Millhollon reports. Randle counts LSU, Oklahoma and Alabama as his finalists.
  • Jason Hickman of MaxPreps.com notes that 350 Texas players have committed to FBS programs, including 73 schools (and all Big 12 schools) with at least one commitment from the Lone Star State.
  • Oklahoma State defensive back Daytawion Lowe is noted for his toughness after starting all 41 games at Midwest City (Okla.) Carl Albert High School. And Tulsa World writer Bill Haisten also found out that Lowe owns and regularly rides a horse -- a 3-year-old Tennessee walker.
  • Safety Jansen Watson of Kissimmee (Fla.) Osceola has switched his commitment from Colorado State to Iowa State, Natalie Meisler of the Denver Post reports.
  • Eric Martin, an inside linebacker from Moreno Valley Calif., is receiving some late recruiting interest from Nebraska, according to the Lincoln Journal Star's Brian Christopherson. Martin's other finalists include Arizona and Arizona State.

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