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Oregon Football

Recruiting Comparison: Oregon vs. Iowa State

December 31, 2020

No. 25 Oregon (4-2) will play No. 10 Iowa State (8-3) in the Fiesta Bowl at 1 p.m. on Saturday in the first-ever matchup between the programs. 

With Pac-12 opponents, these recruiting comparison stories gain drama because both teams are searching the same geographic footprint. However, I can confidently say there is not much recruiting overlap between the Ducks and the Cyclones. 

As the class rankings and numbers show, Oregon and Iowa State recruit a different caliber of player and prioritize different regions. Many current Cyclones hail from the Midwest, which rarely pops up on Oregon’s radar. 

(There are exceptions among current freshman; OL Marcus Harper is from suburban Chicago and CB Dontae Manning is from Kansas City.) 

So, if Iowa State isn’t recruiting on a par with Oklahoma and Texas, how has it become a contender in the Big 12? By priding itself on coaching, player development and adhering to a certain culture – similar to what we’ve seen with Mario Cristobal at Oregon. 

Let’s focus on the Iowa State recruits who fueled the Clones’ run to the regular season conference championship.  

Oregon 2018 recruiting class: Ranked No. 13 nationally, No. 2 in Pac-12; average commit rating 0.8918, top commit 4-star OT Penei Sewell; enrolled 24.  

Iowa State 2018 recruiting class: Ranked No. 55 nationally, No. 7 in Big-12; average commit rating 0.8481; top commit 4-star WR Joseph Scates; enrolled 21.  

Prior to earning the starting job as Iowa State’s signal caller, Brock Purdy was a 3-star recruit out of Perry High in Gilbert (Ariz.). In the state playoffs, he frequently competed against Oregon quarterback Tyler Shough of Hamilton High in nearby Chandler. 

Purdy put an exclamation point on the pair’s last duel, winning a 72-14 beatdown in the 2017 Arizona state championship quarterfinals. In all, Shough and Purdy faced off three times, with the Perry star getting the best of things. 

Purdy amassed 13 offers, including Alabama, Texas A&M and Boise State. The country’s No. 36 pro-style quarterback took official visits to Alabama, Boise State, Iowa State, Texas A&M and UCF prior to signing with the Cyclones.  

Another 3-star who has developed nicely is DE Will McDonald of Waukesha (Wisc.). McDonald, who holds ISU’s single-season sack record with 9.5, made the watch list for the Ted Hendricks Award, given to the nation’s best defensive end. 

Iowa State was McDonald’s only Power 5 offer. 

Junior linebacker Mike Rose leads the Cyclones in total tackles with 90 -- not bad for a low-profile, 215-pound 3-star prep from Broadview Heights (Ohio). Now 6-4 and 245 pounds, Rose could very well develop into an NFL linebacker.  

Rose held only six offers at the time of his commitment, with Iowa State undoubtedly the biggest name among them. The Cyclones won out over Air Force, Ball State, Colgate, Lafayette and Princeton.  

Taking advantage of that single power 5 offer, Rose has blossomed into a star defender in the Big-12 with a team-high 4 interceptions on the year.  

Oregon 2019 recruiting class: Ranked No. 7 nationally, No. 1 in Pac-12; average commit rating 0.9060; top commit 5-star DE Kayvon Thibodeaux; enrolled 26.  

Iowa State 2019 recruiting class: Ranked No. 46 nationally, No. 6 in Big-12; average commit rating 0.8533; top commit 4-star RB Jirehl Brock; enrolled 23. 

Despite being rated behind Brock, Breece Hall is the pledge who became an all-American. Hall racked up 17 offers while at Northwest High in Wichita (Kan.), including Michigan, Nebraska, Ole Miss and Tennessee. 

Prior to committing as a rising senior, Hall narrowed his list to eight: Iowa State, Kansas State, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Rutgers and TCU. He took unofficial visits to Iowa, Nebraska, Purdue and Tennessee, but Iowa State was the only school to receive an official visit from the country’s No. 22 running back.  

The top-rated commit in the class, Brock held 13 total offers; Notre Dame was the most decorated program to woo him. When it came time make a decision, he decided to stay close to his Quincy (Ill.) home by tripping to Iowa State, Minnesota and Northwestern.  

When he wasn’t making house calls on long touchdown runs, Brock also doubled as a basketball star for the Quincy High Blue Devils, hanging from the rim after throwing down dunks. 

With Hall and Purdy dominating the ground game, Brock only logged 13 carries in nine games this year. But his 5.1 yards per carry suggest he can be a steady contributor should more carries become available.   

Oregon offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead tagged redshirt freshman safety Isheem Young as a potential game wrecker for the Cyclone defense. His prep play presaged his stellar college career, as 30 schools pursued the 3-star defensive back. 

Hailing from Philadelphia’s Imhotep Institute, the nation’s No. 56 safety boasted offers from such heavyweights as Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, LSU, Ohio State and Oklahoma. He turned them all down to play under safeties coach D.K. McDonald, whose defenses were top three in Big-12 between 2017 and 2019.  

Oregon 2020 recruiting class: Ranked No. 11 nationally, No. 1 in Pac-12; average commit rating 0.9019; top commit 5-star LB Justin Flowe (currently injured); enrolled 21. 

Iowa State 2020 recruiting class: Ranked No. 46 nationally, No. 6 in Big-12; average commit rating 0.8511; top commit 4-star QB Hunter Dekkers; enrolled 23. 

Standout junior wide receiver Xavier Hutchinson quickly found his footing in Ames despite not garnering any Division 1 offers coming out of Bartam Trail High in Jacksonville (Fla.). He initially decided to stay local and play at Blinn College.  

It was at Blinn where Hutchinson would build his reputation, and eventually 16 schools came calling. Such storied programs as Nebraska and Oklahoma threw their hats in the ring alongside Boise State, Syracuse and others. 

Hutchinson took visits to Boise State, Nebraska and Iowa State, but the relationship with Iowa State won the day. The Clones were the first program to offer him back in February 2019.  

Much as was the case with Young in the class before him, 3-star wideout Daniel Jackson had a stellar offer sheet. Baylor, North Carolina, Oklahoma State, TCU and even USC wanted the 6-2 all-American from Cibolo (Texas), who would go on to be one of four 2020 prospects to sign with the Cyclones from the Lone Star State.  

Jackson used three of his five official visits to see Arizona State, Iowa State and USC. He took unofficials to North Texas, TCU and North Carolina. Jackson has been used sparingly as a freshman, registering just 5 catches in four games. 

While Purdy is Iowa State’s clear leader, Campbell and his staff are well-prepared for the future after signing two 2020 quarterbacks: 4-star dual-threat Hunter Dekkers and 3-star pro-style QB Aidan Bouman.  

Dekkers, the top commit in the class, held fewer than 10 offers -- all from the Midwest: Central Michigan, Kansas State, Indiana, Purdue and others. Being an Iowan from Hawarden might have sealed the deal for Dekkers.  

As for Bouman, a 6-6 gunslinger from Minnesota, Iowa State was the 3-star's only offer. 

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