In the school’s history, the Iowa State Cyclones have clinched two conference championships in the Big Eight Conference, formerly known as the Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MVIAA). In the football bowl subdivision (FBS), the Iowas State Cyclones have the longest conference championship drought.
So far, the team’s highest ranking in the Big Ten is in 2021, where they were ranked no. 9 by both the Coaches and Associated Press (AP) poll. If you want to know if the team can still be considered one of the best sources of NFL hopefuls, let’s take a look at their NFL prospects and decide from these names.
T.J. Tampa was a 3-star recruit from Lakewood High School by ESPN. He also got a 3-star grade from 247 Sports. Freshman T.J. Tampa experienced six games as the cornerback of Iowa State in 2020 and played a total of 89 snaps for the team. During that season, he recorded four tackles and no assists while adding 2 stops.
In 2021, as a sophomore, Tampa logged 302 snaps in 11 games for the team. Boosting the Iowa State Cyclones odds, he recorded 17 tackles, two assists, and one stop. As a junior in Tampa in 2022, he recorded 642 stops in 12 games, recording 38 tackles, 10 assists, and 14 stops.
Tampa was named second team all Big-12 and preseason first team all Big-12 in the 2023 season. Moreover, T.J. Tampa is one of the potential awardees of the Jim Thorpe Award and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, which are distinctions for the best defensive player in the country.
Born in 2002, Jaylin Noel played for Park Hill for high school football and chose Iowa State to continue playing the sport in college, over offers from Wisconsin, Kansas State, and Nebraska.
In his 13 games in 2021, he recorded an average yard of 6.9 yards per reception, tallying 39 catches for 269 yards. He recorded his first career touchdown the following season during a match against Texas. Meanwhile, Noel achieved a career-high 120 receiving yards during a match against Baylor. In his sophomore year, he recorded 60 receptions, with 572 yards and three touchdowns. With these impressive achievements, Noel was named one of the top wide receiver prospects for the 2024 NFL Draft.
Iowa’s State running back Jirehl Brock received a 4-start grade by 247 Sports and was a 3-star recruit by ESPN. He joined Iowa State after playing for Quincy High School. In 2014, the Iowa freshman saw action in just three games and recorded 5.2 yards per carry, no touchdowns, and one fumble after running 47 yards in total.
He played eight games in 2020 and achieved 3.3 yards per carry with no touchdowns and fumbles. He pulled in four receptions for 132 yards during his sophomore year.
As a junior in 2021, Brock saw action in 13 games and recorded 4.7 yards per carry with one touchdown and no fumble. In 2022, Brock achieved 4.9 yards per carry with three touchdowns and two fumbles.
Darrell Simmons Jr.
In high school, Simmons played for the East St. Louis High School. He was rated a 3-star prospect by 247 Sports. In his freshman year at Iowa State, Simmons played 11 games and recorded 768 snaps, allowing no quarterback hits and no sacks.
In 2021, Simmons saw action in 13 games and achieved 861 snaps. He allowed 13 quarterback hurries, no quarterback hits, and no sacks.
In 2022, he played in 12 games and accumulated 796 snaps, allowing 10 quarterback hurries, two quarterback huts, and one sack.
Easton Dean started playing football at Labette County. He is now a redshirt senior at Iowa State Cyclones. His initial collegiate season started in 2019. In 2020, Dean played in all 12 games and recorded his first career pass on a 25-yard reception in a match against Kansas.
In 2021, as a sophomore, Dean saw action in seven games and recorded an average of 18.0 yards per catch, no touchdowns, and an impressive quarterback rating when the target was 118.8.
Sean Shaw Jr.
Hailing from Jones High School, Sean Shaw Jr. is a 3-star recruit by ESPN. He also got a 3-star grade from 247 Sports. As a freshman at the Cyclones, he played 11 games, made 15 receptions, and recorded 15.4 yards per reception and five touchdowns. He also secured an elite quarterback rating when targeted at 137.0.
In 2020, as a sophomore, he saw action in 12 games. He recorded an average of 10.1 yards per catch, with one touchdown and a quarterback rating when targeted at 94.8. In the following year, as a junior, Shaw played in 11 games and secured an average of 9.3 yards per catch with one touchdown.
As a senior in 2022, he saw action in 12 games and secured an average of 9.3 yards per catch and two touchdowns.
Each player we have covered in this list has their own unique skills on the football field, and each of them has a unique advantage in their position in the Iowa State Cyclones. In the coming years, we will learn more about these players as they potentially enter a bigger arena in the NFL.