Iowa State Cyclones 2024 Spring Preview
The Iowa State Cyclones and Coach Minnowsotan have been using the offseason rest to their advantage, putting in the hard work and effort necessary to be successful in a competitive Big XII. New faces have made their way to Iowa to make their mark and compete for a chance at starting for the Cyclones. The Cyclones have high hopes coming into this year and this years roster reflects those ambitions. The Cyclones have a lot to look out for in 2024.
QB Vaughn Sheppard 6-5 196 Sr York (York NE) 4.5 of 4.5 [Pocket]
Vaughn Sheppard has been slowly progressing since his start back in 2020, since then he has come a long way in developing into the player that he is today. His final year will surely becoming his best yet, as the Cyclones have given him more surrounding support this year than last year. Sheppard will have an increased role in the offense compared to last season. While Kofi will be there to help take pressure away from him he will have to make plays himself in order to stay on top. With him under center Iowa State should be in safe hands.
RB Kofi McCullough 5-9 177 (Sr) Lincoln (Sioux Falls SD) 5.0 of 5.0 [Speed]
RB Luca Stewart 6-1 213 (Fr) Liberal (Liberal MO) 1.5 of 3.0 [Power]RB Jonah Pickering 5-7 177 Fr Van Alstyne (Van Alstyne TX) 1.0 of 3.5 [Speed]
RB Jordan Jackson 5-7 198 Fr Century (Rochester MN) 1.0 of 4.0 [Power]
No question who gets to be the starter this year, Kofi has been an anchor in the Cyclone offense for 3 years now and he has not shown signs of slowing down. He will see the same amount of work load as years prior and he will make use of every single carry he receives. The backup is going to be more of a question as these 3 are currently in the running to become the backup. Stewart was redshirted last season and did not see play. His .5 progression was less than desirable in his journey, but that hopefully will not becoming a theme for his progression going forward. Coach Minnow has hopes that Pickering will make a strong showing during the Spring Game, but at the moment he looks like he will be redshirted along with Jordan Jackson as the future of the Cyclone runningback squad.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
WR Luka Snell 5-11 165 (Jr) North Delta (Batesville MS) 4.0 of 4.0 [Speed]
WR Nat Donaldson-Douglas 5-9 157 (Sr) Kuemper Catholic (Carroll IA) 3.5 of 3.5 [Speed]
WR Ezekiel Renteria 6-5 221 Sr Northeast (Macon GA) 3.5 of 3.5 [Target]WR Troy Spears 6-0 231 (Jr) Riverside (Oakland IA) 3.5 of 3.5 [Target]
WR Jerricho Dodd 6-0 199 Fr Ames (Ames, IA) 1.0 of 5.0 [Speed
ATH Demetrius Clay 6-0 235 (Jr) Columbus Community (IA) 5.0 of 5.0 [Blocking]
TE Ibrahima Riley 6-6 198 (So) Hillsborough (Tampa FL) 3.0 of 3.0 [Receiving]
TE Jamir Payton 6-2 227 (Jr) Chatfield (Chatfield MN) 3.0 of 3.0 [Blocking]
TE Antonio Hobson 6-3 244 (So) Taylor County (Perry FL) 3.0 of 3.0 [Blocking]
The Receiving corps did not see change since last years squad, graduating only one player. Luka Snell hit the gym during the offseason and reported to camp with +.5 potential after his breakout season leading the Cyclones in receiving yards. Donaldson-Douglas will be there to take pressure off of Snell as the second starter, Renteria and Spears will be backup as sure-bet catch guys over the middle when the deep ball is not an option. Jerricho Dodd is a newcomer and local who always dreamed of playing for the Cyclones. Coach Minnow wants his transition to be smooth with the new quarterback next year and new offense so he will be redshirting this year.
With the Tight Ends ATH Demetrius "Two Way" Clay will be the starter. Clay's athleticism has never been replicated in Iowa State's history and will be a starter on both offense and defense. His blocking helped Kofi open holes on the outside and he will be more involved with the new schemes this year. With the backups Riley is a tall dude, standing at 6-6 his frame will surely see him open on passing plays and hard to defend against, and will be utilized as a secondary tight end in passing plays. To becoming the blocking Tight End Coach Minnow will have to see who will show up more during the Spring game.
OT Arthur Stout 6-2 284 Jr Howard Community College (Columbia MD) 4.0 of 4.5 [Pass Blocking]
OG Declan Burgess 6-7 305 Jr Auburndale (Auburndale WI) 3.0 of 4.0 [Pass Blocking]
C Martin McRae 6-1 264 (Jr) Clarke Community (Osceola IA) 4.0 of 4.0 [Run Blocking]
OG Dillon Dooley 6-6 256 So Dowling Catholic (Des Moines IA) 3.5 of 5.0 [Run Blocking]
OT Tavita Faapo 6-7 302 (Jr) Rising Star (Rising Star TX) 3.0 of 3.0 [Run Blocking]
The Offensive line is the best it has ever been in this schools History with the acquision of JuCo transfer Arthur Stout who changed his mind last minute to come to Iowa State over Liberty filled a huge hole left by graduating senior D'Neal Norris. At the guard position Burgess and Dooley have both seen great growth during their time here at ISU and will be important in helping the transition the year after this one. Martin McRae saw some shortened playing time last season missing 3 games with a sprain, during that time the Cyclones had some close games and noticed his absence, luckily he is back and better than ever. Tavita Faapo who won All-Big XII name awards is not a joke. Standing at 6-7 and 302 pounds he is a huge man who can move a lot of real estate quickly, this year will be his first start in the offense.
ATH Demetrius Clay 6-0 235 (Jr) Columbus Community (IA) 5.0 of 5.0 [Blocking]
DE Milo Devine 6-4 261 Jr Grundy Center (Grundy Center IA) 3.0 of 3.0 [Contain]
DE Curtis Hicks 6-2 273 So Century (Rochester MN) 2.0 of 3.0 [Blitz]
DT Taua Aloese 6-3 279 (Sr) Kee (Lansing IA) 3.5 of 3.5 [1-Gap]
DT Ibrahim Eason 6-7 319 (So) Woodbury Central (Moville IA) 2.5 of 3.5 [2-Gap]
This year sees a drop off in production in the Defensive end position, Demetrius Clay is back at the Defensive End position for this year due to the lack of depth and after an unsuccessful transition to OLB last season. Milo Devine was a surprise in his production last season, and hopefully will keep that production this year also. Hicks will be the backup this year with some rotation to get playing time. The tackles have never been a strong focus of ISU. Taua Aloese is back as the starter in his senior season coming off with leading the cyclones in sacks last year he hopes to put up the same production numbers as last year. Ibrahim Eason is big and will be a match against weaker O-linemen due to his size he will have some affect.
OLB Cayden Causey 5-11 215 Jr Durant (Durant IA) 3.5 of 3.5 [Blitz]
ILB Ian Johnson 6-1 210 (Sr) Kee (Lansing IA) 4.0 of 4.0 [Will]
ILB Amari Swann 6-1 257 Fr Durant (Durant IA) 3.0 of 3.0 [Mike]
ILB Reshad Thomas 6-4 260 (Sr) Southeast Warren (Liberty Center IA) 3.0 of 3.0 [Mike]
OLB Peter Hudgins 6-0 224 Fr Durant (Durant IA) 1.0 of 4.0 [Coverage]
The linebacker squad is hurting compared to last season, with the graduation of star player Paul Bryant the Cyclones lack depth at the OLB position, Causey is returning and will be joined by newcomer Peter Hudgins depending on the spring game results. At the inside position Amari Swann is ready to start and will compete against Senior Thomas for the starting position this year.
CB Jaiden Mallory 5-11 162 (Sr) Huntsville (Huntsville AL) 3.5 of 3.5 [Man Coverage]
CB Andre Holman 5-9 183 (So) North Springs (Atlanta GA) 3.0 of 3.0 [Man Coverage]
CB Malik Carradine 6-2 162 (Fr) Southeast Warren (Liberty Center IA) 2.0 of 3.5 [Zone Coverage]
CB Quinton Daniels 6-2 202 Jr Williams (Williams CA) 2.5 of 3.0 [Man Coverage]
FS Antoine Spivey 6-2 212 (Sr) Adel-DeSoto-Minburn (Adel IA) 3.5 of 3.5 [Man Coverage]
SS Jeremiah Lewis 6-2 177 (Sr) Douglas (Box Elder SD) 3.0 of 3.0 [Zone Coverage]
Yikes, overall the most average part of this years defense, New faces such as Carradine and Mallory will start this year after sitting out they still have much room to improve in potential. Carradine is in a different scheme than the others and will have to use this to adapt to a different scheme than what he is used to playing, Spivey and Lewis are both veterans of this team and have not seen starting time since coming to ISU, Both the FS and SS positions are open for position battles due to newcomers but Coach Minnow is deciding to await the results of the spring game to make any decisions.
K Evan Shipley 5-8 188 (Sr) Adel-DeSoto-Minburn (Adel IA) 4.5 of 4.5 [Power]
P Ben Groves 5-10 184 Sr Century (Rochester MN) 4.5 of 4.5 [Power]
LS Elijah Trujillo 6-3 236 So De La Salle (Concord CA) 2.0 of 3.5 [Specialized]
This speical Teams is the most 'Special' unit Iowa State has, Shipley has shown that he is an NFL caliber kicker and shows more Accuracy with his power than average and Ben Groves saw a lot of action in his first couple seasons here at ISU. The only new face on this squad is LS Elijah Trujilo who will be making his first start this year.
This squad is very one dimensional, highly offensive minded but is not below average on defense. This offense will be the best offense ISU has ever had and it will last for a short time so they will have to make the most of the talent that they have now. The defense lost a lot to graduation and has seen better days but I do believe that an average squad can surprise people just as much as a top tier squad can. This is a majority of the same team that beat #1 Oklahoma last season and we will make surprises again this year. Iowa state will see 2 more wins than last season and will be more of a complete unit than last season hopefully seeing the same successes that this team has brought us.