It is not unrealistic to say Iowa State has had their best week of recruiting in the modern era. In the last three days they have landed the state of Iowa's top ranked player in the class of 2013 and the state's top ranked player in the class of 2014, and both rank among the nation's best.
Monday night the Cyclones received a call from Urbandale, Iowa, four-star class of 2014 wide receiver Allen Lazard informing them he was pledging his services to the Cyclones. A legacy recruit whose father was a star in Ames back in the 1990's and whose brother is on their roster now, Lazard picked Iowa State over offers and interest from most of the Midwest's top programs.
Lazard's head coach at Urbandale, Sam Anderson, was not necessarily expecting his star receiver to make his college selection Monday night, but at the same time he was not completely surprised either.
"I just think he knew that he had some schools that really liked him, but he felt [Iowa State] did the most," Anderson said. "There are a lot of hoops you have to jump through to get certain places, and I guess he felt really confident with what he had."
This past season, the 6-foot-4, 210-pound Lazard caught 40 passes for 928 yards - a 23.2 yards per catch average. It is the player he has developed into when the football is not coming his way, however, that has most impressed his head coach.
"I really have seen that true team player in him," Anderson said. "His blocking has been outstanding and that ties in with the team aspect. He caught a lot of balls and made some phenomenal plays this year, but when a kid comes in and tells everybody, 'I'm getting double-teamed so everyone else is going to open up…' He doesn't really care, he just wants to win the game.
"Major colleges want that team player, that unselfish player who is willing to do whatever they can do for the team."
Besides Iowa State, Lazard held offers from Iowa and Nebraska and had received in-school visits within the last week from the likes of Oregon and Notre Dame.
Iowa State pulled a coup when they were able to flip Rivals250 offensive tackle Jake Campos from Missouri on Saturday. Pairing that with Lazard's commitment constitutes an outstanding week on the recruiting trail for head coach Paul Rhoads and staff. Anderson commented on the rise in stature the Iowa State program has had among in-state prospects under Rhoads' leadership.
"He has assembled an outstanding staff and he has guys who are diligent workers," Anderson said. "He has a lot of Iowa guys in there, so there are connections everywhere with coaches and former coaches. He's really put a ton of excitement into it. Everyone says you have to raise the bar and I think he has raised it and continued to push it up.
"When you get a [Joel] Lanning and a Campos and Jake Knott with the tremendous success he's had there - he's a spokesperson in the Des Moines metro area. There are numerous players who have gone there and had success, but the word gets out that they are pretty excited about their time there."
Lazard is Iowa State's first commitment in the 2014 class. He has a Rivals rating of 6.0 and was a Rivals250 to Watch List selection.