Tag Archive: Jared Barnett


James White, RB*- White is the top returning back for the Cyclones in 2012 after rushing for 743 yards and 8 touchdowns last season (4.7 ypc) as well as catching 21 balls for 165 yards and another touchdown. He is a shorter back at 5’8”, but like I always try to point out, packing 180+ pounds on such a small frame isn’t easy to do, and is often a good indication of lower body strength. White tips the scales at a listed weight of 187 pounds, so he isn’t afraid to run between the tackles. I didn’t watch him much last year because he was a sophomore, but he has a shot at 1,000 yards rushing this year despite a lot of returning talent in Iowa State’s backfield. If he can stay healthy, look for a big year from him, but if he doesn’t he could be in for a fight to keep his starting job.

Josh Lenz, WR- Lenz is the top returning receiver in every category for Iowa State. The 6’0”, 194 wideout returns as the receptions leader (39), yardage leader (510), average yardage per reception leader (13.1) and touchdown leader (tied with one other with 2). Obviously those aren’t game-breaking numbers, but he and the rest of Iowa State’s receivers have been dealing with some relatively inept QB play, as both Steele Jantz and Jared Barnett completed under 55% of their passes last season (Jantz 53.3%, Barnett 50% on the dot). Lenz figures to be the go-to guy for Iowa State this season, and even though I don’t think he’s much of a draftable prospect at this point he should have a chance to show what he can do this year. He doesn’t have elite speed, he only has average size but when I saw Iowa State he seemed to have decent hands as well as some shiftiness after the catch. Hopefully the QB play improves a bit so he has a fair shot to impress evaluators.

Jerome Tiller, WR- Tiller was in the mix for the starting quarterback job a year ago at this time but clearly he didn’t win it as Jantz and Barnett threw every pass for Iowa State last season (though they didn’t even throw for 3,000 combined yards despite 479 attempts between them). That was largely due to him being academically ineligible for the 2011 season and that led to his position change. According to Head Coach Paul Rhoads Tiller worked hard in the classroom and straightened himself out in that aspect. He is listed at 6’2”, 204 pounds and if he gets playing time this year he would add some size to a group of receivers that could really use it. I couldn’t see much of the ISU spring game, but from the little I got to see I saw Tiller run a couple solid routes and catch the ball well with his hands, even on a poorly thrown ball. I don’t think he’s going to start, and that’s an extremely limited sample size, but he’s an athlete and combining that with his natural size and solid hands… he could surprise people. Hopefully he gets some targets this year so we can see if I’m right.

Kurt Hammerschmidt, TE- Hammerschmidt has to be one of the best football names I’ve ever heard, but beyond that he has the size that NFL teams are looking for in a tight end. He’s not a joker type that gets split out in the slot every play, he’s an inline kid. He’s listed at 6’6”, 271 pounds and from what I’ve seen he has ability as a blocker. That’s not surprising given his size, but he was barely involved in Iowa State’s passing game last season, totaling only 13 catches for 126 yards and no touchdowns. He’s likely the best red zone threat they have now that Darius Reynolds has graduated, and he’s 3 inches taller than any of the other wide receivers Iowa State has on the team. Being targeted more would certainly help his draft stock, but ultimately that comes down to quarterback play which Iowa State certainly doesn’t have in spades. Hammerschmidt seems like a guy who might end the year with uninspiring numbers, perhaps 30 receptions for 400 yards and a couple of touchdowns, but then impress at an All-Star game such as the East-West Shrine Game when he finally has a quarterback throwing him catchable balls consistently and his blocking is on full display. Keep an eye on him even if his stats aren’t eye-popping. However, not to drag his name through the mud, but I did read that he was suspended indefinitely back in 2009 after being arrested on September 7th for drunk driving. He was 20 years old back then, and I haven’t been able to find any off-field incidents that he has been involved in since, so even though it’s a mistake it would seem that he has learned from it.

Jake McDonough, DT- I’ll be honest, I don’t know a lot about McDonough’s game at this point. The 6’5”, 290 pound defensive tackle started all 13 games last season and produced 35 tackles, 2.5 TFL and 2 sacks during his junior campaign. Speaking of producing, I also found a video that he produced with J Shade for the week leading up to the Oklahoma State game. He reportedly wrote and produced the song with J Shade and even though the video only has 20,000 views it is pretty well done and quite well edited. More importantly, it seemed to get the team and the fans “All In” for the Oklahoma State game since it led to an upset of the Cowboys and derailed their hopes of a National Championship. Maybe McDonough should produce rap videos more often.

AJ Klein, MLB- Klein is one player that every college football fan should be aware of. It’s impossible not to enjoy watching this kid play thanks to his intensity and fearlessness on the field. He’s a great tackler, much like his teammate Jake Knott, and his fantastic instincts and football smarts help compensate for his lack of elite athleticism. Klein is listed at 6’2”, 244 pounds and he is one of the leaders of the defense along with Knott, and produced 116 tackles, 5.5 TFL, 2 sacks, 6 pass break-ups and 1 interception last year. He had an interception in the Iowa State Spring Game that he returned for a touchdown (he has a knack for doing that, he already has 3 pick-6’s in his Iowa State career, a school record), and even though he won’t be able to run with a slot receiver down the seam he is a pretty savvy pass defender. I don’t know if he will be a MLB or a WLB in the NFL or not, but I would take Klein on my team any day. He’s going to be a great special teamer from day one, he’s a great tackler which is becoming more and more difficult to find these days, and he plays smart and fast. Sign me up for a linebacker like that every time, even if he doesn’t run a 4.5 flat. Klien and Knott may not be drafted in the first 2 or maybe even 3 rounds depending on how this year goes, but that has a lot to do with lacking elite athleticism and also questionable upside. What I mean by that is this: You know exactly what you’re getting with those two. I think that’s a positive for them, but some will wonder how much better they can get and knock them. The obsession with potential will lead to them being overlooked by some teams, but a couple smart teams will snatch them up and have reliable starters for the next 10 years.

Jake Knott, WLB- Knott emerged as a starter as a sophomore the same year Klein has and they have been wreaking havoc on defenses ever since. Knott is listed at 6’3”, 239 pounds and plays weak-side next to Klein and barely lost out on the lead for tackles last season as he totaled 115, 4 TFL, 3 pass break-ups, 2 interceptions and four forced fumbles on the year. Like Klein, Knott is a terrific tackler, plays fast, reads and reacts well and simply doesn’t bite on something that isn’t there or flow away from the play. It’s one of the reasons he and Klein have been such fantastic linebackers for the last two years, they are always around the ball thanks to their football IQ’s and instincts. Much like Klein, I would take a linebacker like Knott on my team any day. He isn’t an elite athlete, but he plays fast, smart and is fundamentally sound versus the run and the pass. I think he and Klein will both be NFL starters sooner rather than later, coaches will love how assignment-sound they are.

Jeremy Reeves, CB- Reeves might be small at only 5’7”, 166 pounds, but he plays bigger than he is listed (though it could hardly be otherwise). Reeves had 70 tackles, 3 TFL, 7 pass break-ups and 2 interceptions as a junior last season and returns for his senior year with 22 starts, easily the most of anyone in the Cyclone secondary. Reeves doesn’t have a great NFL future at that size, but his ball skills and willingness to tackle will give him a shot to be a special teamer and perhaps a dime back. He won’t be able to play much beyond slot corner, but if you’ve got ball skills and are willing to tackle you can get a shot.

Jacques Washington, FS*- Washington is the only junior projected to start in Iowa State’s secondary but he can play. He’s listed at 6’1”, 213 pounds and was the teams 3rd leading tackler (second only to stand-out linebackers Klein and Knott) with 90 tackles, 1 sack, 8 pass deflections and an interception last year. He’s a reliable tackler who likes to hit, but even though he tied for the team lead for pass deflections with Leonard Johnson I would like to see him play with better instincts and awareness in coverage. He likes to hit, and I think sometimes he wants to fill even when he should stay back and make sure he is in position to react in coverage. He’s got ability though, so keep an eye on him.

Kirby Van Der Kamp, P*- I love throwing a punter into one of these prospect previews because no one ever expects to see them. The Big-12 actually has a surprising amount of punter talent, headlined by Tress Way and Quinn Sharp, but Mr. Van Der Kamp (pretty awesome name) was quietly an honorable mention for the All Big-12 team as a punter the past two years. He has been the punter for the past two seasons in Ames and has downed 43 punts inside the 20 in those two seasons which is a pretty respectable number. I haven’t paid attention to him when I’ve seen Iowa State play, but he is supposed to have a pretty strong leg (15 of his 68 punts went 50+ yards) and has only totaled 16 touchbacks in 2 years. He may not have eye-popping stats, but he’s already ISU’s career punting leader with a 43.8 yard average per punt. Keep an eye on him if for no other reason than the fact that he has an awesome name.

Keleche Osemele is one of the best offensive guard prospects in the country. His combination of size and strength is very intriguing.

Kelechi Osemele, OT, Iowa State- Osemele impressed me tonight. He’s so big and strong that once he locks on he can drive defenders off the ball in the run game. He seems to finish blocks well and will be fine blocking interior defensive linemen because of his great size (listed at 6’6″, 345 pounds) with long arms and great strength. He doesn’t have the foot speed/lateral agility to stick at LT in the NFL in my opinion, and while he might have a shot at RT I think his upside is highest inside at guard. At that spot he is a first round pick. His long arms will help him in pass protection at guard as well, and he doesn’t seem to lean into blocks and reach in pass protection. Doesn’t bend at the waist, he bends at the knees and lets defenders come to him in his stance. He’s a quality prospect, one of the best offensive guard prospects in the country. Don’t have a report on him yet, but I will eventually.

Leonard Johnson, CB, Iowa State- I can’t say enough about how well Leonard Johnson played tonight. Weeden throws the ball to Blackmon a lot, but a number of times Johnson’s blanket coverage on Blackmon forced Weeden to look at other receivers, hold onto the ball too long and at times force throws. Johnson was very good in man coverage, particularly down the sideline. He did a great job of taking away Weeden’s windows to throw to Blackmon by using the sideline to his advantage and staying right in Blackmon’s hip pocket making it nearly impossible to throw into that window. I wasn’t sure how impressed I was in zone coverage, and even in spite of his great effort mirroring Blackmon for the entire game he still gave up 10 catches for 99 yards and 1 TD. There wasn’t anything he could do about the TD, it was just a terrific play by Blackmon, but he definitely frustrated him and it was a very heated, competitive battle. Additionally, at least three or four of his catches were on screens at the line of scrimmage. Downfield Johnson had very good coverage for the majority of the game. They both seem to be very intense competitors, and while Johnson was jawing at Blackmon more and more throughout the game he never seemed to get so heated that he lost his cool. I had never specifically watched Johnson before, but he left a terrific impression on me tonight. He played great against arguably the best wide receiver in the country.

Brandon Weeden was on top of many Heisman lists prior to this game, but he won't be after his relatively disappointing performance against Iowa State.

Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State- Weeden has definitely had better nights. He was checking down a lot and throwing a LOT of bubble screens which kind of bothered me. More importantly he was checking down in critical situations. He was throwing underneath and into the backfield on 3rd downs late in the fourth quarter instead of pushing the ball downfield. Now, Blackmon was well covered overall tonight and if it weren’t for some bubble screens he probably wouldn’t have had many catches, and while Moore and Cooper stepped up when Weeden got them the ball it didn’t seem like he was consistently making good reads and good decisions tonight. He didn’t come up big in crunch time when his team needed him (until he made a nice touchdown throw to Cooper in the first OT which was immediately followed by an interception on a tipped ball that was forced to Blackmon against pretty solid coverage) and that’s a problem for me when evaluating QB prospects. Considering his age, his throwing motion which could stand to be tinkered with to speed up his release, and some of his issues in this close game it’s hard for me to grade him as a 3rd round prospect right now.

Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State- Blackmon had a good statistical game, but he struggled to create separation against Johnson tonight. Definitely not his best game, and while I’m not sure how many drops he had (may not have had any, but I thought I remembered at least one) he did make some nice catches extending his arms fully and had a terrific play against good man coverage by Johnson as he went up and made a great catch in mid-air as he demonstrated great body control and hands. He scored on that play, and it was definitely a highlight reel play. So while Blackmon didn’t have the best game of his career he still managed to make a couple great catches and plays to help his team. I think he could have done more, but some of that blame has to be placed on Weeden. It was encouraging to see him make plays like that, but at the same time I was hoping to see him step up late in the 4th quarter and in the overtime periods.

Darius Reynolds displayed some upside in this game, and I was particularly impressed with his hand-eye coordination as well as his ability to high point the ball in the air.

Darius Reynolds, WR, Iowa State- Reynolds had a pedestrian game by statistical standards with only 4 catches, 39 yards and 1 touchdown. However, I was impressed with his hands overall (though he did have at least one or two drops) as he made a great catch high pointing the ball well above the defender for his only touchdown in the first half. He almost had a second touchdown but it was ultimately ruled an incompletion. I personally believed it was a touchdown, but regardless of how it was ruled he still made a terrific play to get a hand on the ball, focus on it as he his arm was being grabbed while falling in the air and ultimately reel it in before he hit the ground. Broderick Brown stripped it out after it seemed clear to me that he had maintained control of it, but the referees ruled that there was not indisputable visual evidence to overturn the call of an incomplete pass on the field. Regardless, I had never seen Reynolds play before and he flashed some impressive ability. He’s a late round pick right now, but he flashed some upside tonight.

Jared Barnett, QB, Iowa State- Barnett wasn’t overly impressive in this game statistically, but I was convinced he had poise and composure by how he was playing as the game went on. Then the 4th quarter came about and Barnett made some big time throws and plays to help move Iowa State not only within striking distance but led the comeback to tie the game. He’s a redshirt freshman quarterback but his efforts in this game were very impressive. They weren’t all pretty, but he came up big when his team needed him to.

A.J. Klein, LB, Iowa State- Klein is a junior linebacker on Iowa State that impressed me tonight. He seemed to be a reliable tackler, showed some ability in coverage by deflecting a pass or two, and seemed to be around the ball consistently in this game. I’d grade him as a 3rd-4th rounder for the 2013 class as he has some ability, but haven’t seen enough of him yet and I don’t think he’s an elite athlete. I liked what I saw from him tonight though.

Markelle Martin, S, Oklahoma State- Martin is an athletic player and he had a couple nice plays in coverage tonight. He missed some tackles early in the game and overall I think he earned mixed reviews in this game. He’s an athletic specimen, but I don’t know how high I am on him at this point.

Hopefully you enjoyed my thoughts on the Oklahoma State-Iowa State game. It was sloppy at times, but overall it was a fantastic game and a huge upset. It was definitely a very fun game to watch, and it had a number of legitimate NFL prospects to take a look at. Thanks for reading!

–Tom