football

Unlikely Florida pipeline flowing for Iowa State

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IowaStatedefensivetacklescoachShaneBurnhamknowsthecityofBradenton,Fla.,almostaswellashisownhometown.
ThatdemonstratesjusthowoftenBurnhamvisitspreppowerManateeHighSchoolaspartofhisrecruitingresponsibilities.Burnhamestimatesthatoverthelastthreeyears,hehasstoppedbyManateeeveryweekthatNCAArecruitingregulationsallowhimtobeontheroad.
"It'sgettingtoapointthatIhaveaprettygoodrelationshipwithmostoftheirstaff,"Burnhamsaid."They'llkindofjokewithmethattheycansetupacotformewhenI'matManatee.TheymakefunofmebecauseI'malwaysthere."
Burnham'sfrequentvisitstoManateearepayingmajordividends.
IowaState'srosteralreadyincludeswidereceiverQuentonBundrageanddefensivetackleQuintonPompey,three-starrecruitsfrom2011whoredshirtedlastseason.Three-starlinebackerDariusWhitejoinedIowaState'sManateecontingentbysigningwiththeCycloneslastmonth.
TheCyclonesalsohavemadeofferstodefensivetackleDerrickCallowayanddual-threatquarterbackCordSandberg,four-starrecruitswhowillbegintheirsenioryearsatManateethisfall.
"Italwayshelpstohaveateammateatthesameschoolasyou,"saidBundrage,whoroomswithPompey."Youfeelmorecomfortabletohavesomeoneyouknowpersonallywho'sthere.Whenyouhavesomebodyyoucantrust,itmakesalotofthingsbetter."
Itisn'tallthatunusualforanout-of-stateprogramtohavemultipleplayersfromthesameFloridahighschool.
WestVirginiawontheOrangeBowllastseasonwithfiveplayersfromMiramarHigh,includingstarquarterbackGenoSmithandstandoutreceiverStedmanBailey.WestVirginiaalsosignedthree-starreceiverDevonteMathisfromMiramarlastmonth.
Rivals.comFreshmanAll-AmericaquarterbackTeddyBridgewaterwasoneoffiveMiamiNorthwesternalumsonLouisville's2011roster.WesternMichiganhadsixplayersfromNorthMiamiBeachHighlastseason.
Butthoseconnectionsareeasiertoexplain.
[CycloneReport.com:IowaStateamongthoseafterfour-starWRAteman
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WestVirginiahasthestarpowerthatcomesfromhavingwonthreeBCSgamesoverthelastsevenyears.LouisvillecoachCharlieStrongiswellknownintheSunshineStateafterservingasFlorida'sdefensivecoordinatorfrom2002-09.TheWesternMichigan-NorthMiamiBeachpipelinemayseemtoughertounderstandonthesurface,butWesternMichigancoachBillCubitisaformerFloridahighschoolcoachwhopreviouslyworkedasanassistantatFloridaandUCF.
Thenthere'sIowaState.
HeadcoachPaulRhoadshasneverplayedorcoachedataFloridaschool,yethisstaffhasestablishedafruitfulrelationshipwithoneofthestate'smostsuccessfulprepprograms.Manateefinished11thintheRivalsHigh100nationalrankingslastyearafterwinningitsfifthstatechampionshipundercoachJoeKinnan,whoownsacareerrecordof269-68.
THEMANATEE-IOWASTATECONNECTION
Here'salookatthethreeBradenton(Fla.)ManateealumsonIowaState'sroster.,includingacommentoneachfromthecoachwhorecruitedthem,CyclonesassistantShaneBurnham.
WIDERECEIVERQUENTONBUNDRAGE
Height:6-2
Weight:184
Class:Redshirtfreshman
Recruitingranking:Threestars
Notable:Bundragecaught70passesfor1,225yardsand15touchdownsasahighschoolsenior.Hecaught11touchdownpassesasajunior.Healsowasastatefinalistinthehighjumpasajunior.
Burnham'sTake:"Ican'ttellyouhowexcitedweareabouthim.Thekidiseverythingwethoughthe'dbe.TheguysfromManateetoldmefromthedayhecommitted,'Shane,youguysstoleonehere.Yougotagreatsteal.'It'strue.We'resoexcitedaboutQuentonBundrage,itwouldn'tsurprisemetoseehimstartthenextfouryears."
DEFENSIVETACKLEQUINTONPOMPEY
Height:6-3
Weight:303
Class:Redshirtfreshman
Recruitingranking:Threestars
Notable:Pompeycollected100tacklesand12sackshisjunioryearatManatee.Hefollowedthatupwith62tacklesand11sackshissenioryeardespitesufferingakneeinjurylateintheyear.PompeyspenthisfirstyearatIowaStaterecoveringfromkneesurgery.
Burnham'sTake:"Hegotuphereandwehadtogointhereandscopehiskneerightbeforecampevenstarted,rightbeforeheevengothiscareerstarted.Heredshirted.Sowehaven'tseenmuchoutofhimyet.We'llfindoutthisspring.Welovehisbodytype.He'sareallyenjoyablekid,butwehaven'treallygotanevaluationofhimyet."
LINEBACKERDARIUSWHITE
Height:6-1
Weight:230
Class:Truefreshman
Recruitingranking:Threestars
Notable:Whitewasafour-yearstarteratManateewhocollected341tacklesoverhislastthreeseasons.Heplayedthefinalfourgamesofhisseniorseasonwithatornlabrum.
Burnham'sTake:"WewerelookingforatrueMikelinebacker.We'regraduatingtwostartinglinebackersnextfall,andwewantedtobringsomeoneintokindofgroom....He'sabigkid.Andanotherthing,forallthesuccessthey'vehadatManatee,they'veonlyhadahandfulofguyswho'vestartedfromtheirfreshmanyearandbeenfour-yearstarters.Dariusfallsintothatgroup....He'sacaptainwithalltheintangiblestheytalkedaboutwithhim-theleadership,theworkethic."
TheCyclones'Manateerecruitsgenerallydidn'thaveMidwesttiesandrarelyhadbeenintemperaturesasfrigidaswhattheyencounteredontheirofficialvisitstoIowaState'sAmescampus.YetIowaStatestillhasmanagedtogetthreeplayersfromthatschooltosignwithacold-weatherprogramthathaswonmorethansevengamesinaseasonjustonce-a9-3campaignin2000-since1978.
HowhasIowaStatepulleditoff?ItstartswiththeBurnhams.
BurnhamisthesonofCyclonesdefensivecoordinatorWallyBurnham,whocametoIowaStatefromUSF.HegrewupinTallahassee,Fla.,whilehisfatherwasworkingonBobbyBowden'sstaffatFloridaState.
HistasksatIowaStateincluderecruitingthewesternpartofFlorida.HeknewthestatewellenoughtorealizethatwouldrequireplentyoftripstoManatee.
"You'vealreadygotplayerstherewhoknowhowtowin,"Burnhamsaid."Theyknowhowtowork.They'vegotagreatweightprogram.Joerunshisprogramlikeamajorcollege,thewaythey'reorganized.Whenyougetaplayerfromoutthere,whatwedohereisnotgoingtobeashock.It'snotgoingtoshockhissystemwhenhecomestoacollegeprogram,wheresomekidsinasmalltownorlesserprogram,theywon'tunderstandwhatthey'rewalkinginto."
Burnham'sconnectiontoManateebeganwhenheattemptedtorecruitAceSanders,afour-starreceiverintheClassof2010.SandersisthesonofManateeassistantcoachTracySanders,whohadplayedatFloridaStatewhenWallyBurnhamwasthere.
SandersendedupsigningwithSouthCarolina,buthisrecruitmentcausedBurnhamtogetquitefamiliarwithManatee'sprogram.That'showBurnhamgottoknowaboutManatee'spromisingunderclassmen,includingBundrageandPompey.
"Shanewasabletoconnectwithourkids,"Kinnansaid."He'sveryprofessional.HedottedhisI's,crossedhisT's,hunginthereanddevelopedagreatrapportwithourkids."
Still,gettingeitherplayertosignwithIowaStatewasnosurething.Attimes,IowaStateseemedlikealongshot.
"Oncewegotthemonaplane[toIowaState],therestkindoftookcareofitself,"Burnhamsaid."Butgettingthemonaplanewashard.UpuntillateNovemberorearlyDecember,Ididn'tthinkI'dgetavisitfromeitheroneofthosekids,butwewerejustpersistent."
BundragesaidhehadnevervisitedtheMidwestbeforemakinghisofficialvisit,buthesoonrealizedIowaStatewaswherehewantedtospendthenextfourtofiveyears.BurnhamandtherestofIowaState'sstaffwonoverthethree-starrecruitwhoalsohadreceivedoffersfromCincinnati,LouisvilleandUCFamongothers.
"Theywerereallyhonestwithmeandstraightforwardabouteverything,lettingmeknowaheadoftimewhatwasgoingtohappenifIcame,"saidBundrage,whobelievesthatredshirtinglastseasonwillpayoffforhiminthelongrun."Justknowingtheyweretellingthetruthabouteverythingreallyhelpedmydecision."
OncehecommittedtoIowaState,BundragestartedtorecruitManatee'sotherplayers.Butsomeofthemwantedtomaketheirowndecisions.
Forinstance,WhitesaidthefactIowaStatealreadyhadtwoManateealumsonitsrosterhadnoimpactonhisselectionprocess.HeultimatelychoseIowaStateforthesamereasonsthatbroughtBundragetoAmes.
WhitealsoestablishedabondwithBundrageandtheotherIowaStatecoaches.WhiteenjoyedhisofficialvisitsomuchthathestucktohisverbalcommitmentevenafterMiamimadealateoffer.
"Itwasacomfortablefeeling,"Whitesaid."Theyweren'treallyinmyfacetomakeadecision.Itwasafeelingyougetlikewhenyou'reinafamily.Theymadeitreallyeasy."
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BurnhamrecruitedsoeffectivelythatWhiteandBundragedidn'tevenworrymuchabouttheweatherthey'dencounteratIowaState.ThesecretapparentlyisfocusingontheAmessummersinsteadofthewinters.
"Youcan'thidethefactthatDecemberthroughFebruaryit'sgoingtobeaMidwestwinter,"Burnhamsaid."It'sgoingtosnow.It'sgoingtogetcold.It'sgoingtogetwindy.TheflipsideiswhenyouguysaredownthereinlateJune,JulyandAugustandcan'treallygooutsidewithoutbreakingasweat[inFlorida],outhereit'salotmoretemperate.Springandsummertrainingisalotmoreenjoyable[atIowaState]thanitisdownthereinFlorida."
AlthoughIowaState'sthreeManateerepresentativeshaven'tplayedasingledownyet,theyallhavebrightfutures.IowaStateisparticularlyhighonBundrage,whocaught70passesfor1,225yardsand15touchdownshissenioryearinhighschool.
"Itwouldn'tsurprisemetoseehimstartthenextfouryears,"Burnhamsaid.
[RivalsonYahoo!SportsRadio:IowaStatehoopscoachFredHoibergjoinsDavidNuno]
Pompeyrecorded23sacksoverhisfinaltwoyearsatManateebeforespendingthe2011seasonrecoveringfromkneesurgery.Whitewasafour-yearstarteratManateewhocertainlyhasplentyoftoughness.Whiteplayedthefinalfourgamesofhissenioryearwithatornlabrum,Kinnansaid.
IowaStatewouldlovetoaddManateeplayersnextyear,butthatcouldprovechallenging.CallowayandSandbergarefour-starrecruitswithamultitudeofoffersfromprogramsthathavewarmerweatherandstrongertraditions.
Thenagain,theyalsoarealreadyawareofIowaState'shistorywithManatee.IowaState'sManateealumswon'thesitatetotalkaboutalltheirpleasantexperiencesoncampus,mostnotablytheupsetofOklahomaStatelastfallthatpreventedtheCowboysfromplayingforthenationaltitle.
"IowaStateisoneoftheschoolsthatI'vebeentalkingtothelongest,soIknowthoseguysalittlebetterthantheonesatotherschools,"SandbergtoldCycloneReport.com."They'redefinitelystillinit."
EvenifCallowayandSandbergdon'tcheckoutIowaState,BurnhamundoubtedlywillcontinuetovisitManateeonaregularbasis.Manatee'straditionofcontendingforstatetitlesandchurningoutDivision-Iprospectsonanannualbasisfigurestocontinuenextseason.
"Onpaper,welookawfullygood,"Kinnansaid.
ItmightbetimetogetBurnhamoneofthosecots.
SteveMegargeeisthenationalcollegecolumnistforRivals.com.Hecanbereachedatsmegargee@rivals.com,andyoucanclickheretofollowhimonTwitter.
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