2012 Iowa State Preview - Offense

Posted Jul 12, 2012

CollegeFootballNews.com 2012 Preview - Iowa State Cyclone Offense

Iowa State Cyclones

Preview 2012 - Offense

- 2012 Iowa State Preview | 2012 Iowa State Offense
- 2012 Iowa State Defense | 2012 Iowa State Depth Chart

What You Need To Know: While the offense wasn't anywhere near as strong as many of the high-octane machines throughout the Big 12, compared to other years the Cyclones were able to move the ball. The consistency wasn't there and the passing game was wildly inefficient, but there were times when things clicked. Now the O should be the best it's been in the Paul Rhoads era with a promising receiving corps with lots of talent and athleticism making life easier for the veteran quarterbacks. Steele Jantz and Jared Barnett can both run and make things happen, but one has to take the starting QB job and run with it. The backfield is deep and experienced working behind a beefed up line that might not have any stars, but should be solid.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Steele Jantz
138-259, 1,519 yds, 10 TD, 11 INT
Rushing: James White
159 carries, 743 yds, 8 TD
Receiving: Josh Lenz
39 catches, 510 yds, 2 TD

Star of the offense: Junior RB James White
Player who has to step up and be a star: Senior OT Carter Bykowski
Unsung star on the rise: Junior WR Albert Gary
Best pro prospect: Junior OG Ethan Tuftee
Top three all-star candidates: 1) White, 2) WR Josh Lenz, 3) C Tom Farniok
Strength of the offense: Receivers, Experience
Weakness of the offense: Passing Efficiency, Consistency


The passing game was inconsistent and often ineffective, but there were moments of magic. After coming up with a special performance against Oklahoma State with 376 yards and three scores and 84 rushing yards, sophomore Jared Barnett will always be a part of Cyclone lore, but he struggled with his accuracy throughout the year completing 50% of his passes for 1,201 yards and six scores with six picks while finishing second on the team with 437 rushing yards and a score. While the 6-1, 199-pounder might not always be the team's most exciting quarterback option, he's a strong all-around option who showed he could handle the workload carrying the team down the stretch when thrown to the wolves.

Even with Barnett holding down the job late in the year, senior Steele Jantz might still be the front-runner for the starting gig. At 6-3 and 224 pounds the former JUCO transfer has excellent size and is dangerous when he gets on the move rushing for 216 yards and two scores while completing 53% of his passes for 1,519 yards and ten scores with 11 picks. Hurt early on with a foot problem, he wasn't quite as effective and gave way to Barnett, but now he's healthy and ready to go again. A veteran with an interesting journey, he started out his career at Hawaii, went to Cal, and moved to City College of San Francisco before bringing more passing pop to the Cyclone passing game. He threw for 3,075 yards and 23 touchdowns for CCSF last year and ran for 601 yards and 14 scores.

While it's a battle between Jantz and Barnett for the starting job, 6-2, 204-pound redshirt freshman Sam Richardson is being given a shot to show what he can do. The Florida native is a nice dual-threat option who threw for 2,742 yards and 34 touchdowns and ran for 590 yards and five scores in his senior year.

Watch Out For … an ongoing battle. Jantz and Barnett are neck-and-neck for the gig and each might get a shot depending on the situation. The coaching staff won't be shy about changing things up if the starter isn't working.
Strength: Mobility. The Cyclones always get decent rushing production from the quarterbacks and will be sure to get at least 500 yards from the position no matter who's under center. Jantz and Barnett are ballers who can make things happen.
Weakness: Consistency. There were too many picks last year and the accuracy wasn't quite there on a regular basis. The passing game wasn't awful, but it disappeared a bit too often and didn't do too much to stretch the field.
Outlook: The passing game was the least efficient in the Big 12, and while it averaged 212 yards per game, it didn't necessarily keep up the pace on a regular basis with the better offenses. Jantz and Barnett can each play and are dangerous veterans who know what they're doing, but it would be nice if one stepped up and demanded to be the No. 1 guy.
Unit Rating: 7

Running Backs

Junior James White ended up taking over the starting job and finished as the team's leading rusher with 743 yards and eight scores averaging 4.7 yards per carry. Very fast and with a great motor, he's always working and he's always looking to get the hard yard. He took off for 148 yards on just 16 carries against Baylor and 138 yards against Texas Tech, but those were his only two 100-yard games on the year. A good receiver, he has nice hands catching 21 passes for 165 yards and a score.

Is Shontrelle Johnson going to be ready? He stepped in as a true freshman and showed tremendous promise highlighted by a 102-yard day against Texas Tech, and last year he was supposed to be the main man rushing for 247 yards in four games before suffering a season-ending neck injury. Very, very quick and very smart, he's a great prospect who can be a flash of lightning and can be the team's most dangerous back if he's 100%. Good enough to get offers from Florida and Georgia Tech, the Florida native should potentially be the key part of the attack as long as he's able to stay on the field.

6-1, 245-pound junior Jeff Woody is a nice veteran who ran for 191 yards two years ago and finished third on the team with 381 yards and six scores averaging 4.2 yards per carry. He's the power back between the tackles adding more power to the flash of White and Johnson, but he'll also be used more as a blocker in place of a fullback.

Watch Out For … Johnson's neck. If he's okay and cleared, he's the team's fastest back and a danger to take it to the house every time he touches the ball. He gives the offense another dimension when he's right.
Strength: Veteran options. Throw in the quarterbacks and the top five runners from last season return. White and Johnson bring plenty of speed and quickness while Woody provides the thump; it's a nice rotation.
Weakness: Great defenses. Outside of the win over UConn, when the running game wasn't working the ISU offense struggled. The Cyclone running game was held in check by Rutgers, Oklahoma and Texas A&M and all three were losses.
Outlook: The running backs should be a major plus is everyone is healthy. White showed he could handle the workload in a rotation with Woody, while Johnson is a dangerous back with tremendous potential if he's healthy. Add the production from the quarterbacks and ISU will have one of the Big 12's better running games.
Unit Rating: 7.5


The receiving corps looks extremely promising led by senior Josh Lenz, a 6-0, 194-pounder who finished second on the team with 39 catches for 510 yards and two scores. He's not necessarily a dynamic playmaker, but he's quick enough to be the top punt returner and averaged over 13 yards per catch. He's the slot target who can make things happen across the field, while 5-11, 197-pound senior Chris Young will once again by the main backup after making six catches for 68 yards and a score after stepping in from the JUCO ranks.

While Lenz is the No. 1 target, there's a chance that senior Jerome Tiller could be the team's best receiver as the year goes on. The 6-3, 204-pound former quarterback was supposed to be in the mix for the starting job last year, but missed the entire season after having academic issues. Very athletic, very big, and very promising, he'll push hard for a starting job and could be a matchup nightmare. However, he'll have to battle with 5-7, 165-pound sophomore Jarvis West, a lightning-fast target who didn't exactly show it last year averaging just 5.6 yards per catch on 25 grabs for 141 yards. He has deep threat potential. Also in the equation will be 6-2, 184-pound redshirt freshman Quenton Bundrage, a smooth, good-sized receiver who'll eventually be one of the team's top receivers.

Will Aaron Horne be ready to go? The former JUCO transfer is a smallish 5-9, 178-pound senior from City College of San Francisco who immediately paid off by finishing third on the team with 38 catches for 431 yards. However, he didn't score and he's trying to come back after suffering a broken collarbone this offseason. Once he's back he should be one of the team's most dynamic weapons, while 5-10, 196-pound junior Albert Gary will be ready to go as a starter somewhere. Extremely promising with tremendous upside, he made 23 catches for 287 yards and two scores, but he has to return from some off-the-field issues after pleading guilty to a theft last year.

Back at his starting tight end spot is 6-6, 271-pound senior Kurt Hammerschmidt, a massive blocker who can catch a little bit making 13 grabs for 126 yards. He has the hands and the ability to be a short-range target and dangerous around the goal line, but he has mostly been used for the ground game. 6-3, 240-pound junior Ernst Brun is more of a receiver coming in from the JUCO ranks.

Watch Out For … Tiller. Gary might be talented, Lenz is the veteran and Horne is dynamic. However, it's Tiller who has the size and potential to be the new star who dominates from time to time. He might not be a blazer, but he's big and should be tough to handle.
Strength: Talent. Leading receiver Darius Reynolds is gone, but the corps might be better with the expected emergence of Tiller, Gary and Horne into bigger factors. Considering Lenz is the only full-time starter back, this group might turn out to be better.
Weakness: The quarterbacks. Steele Jantz and Jared Barnett are veterans who know what they're doing, but compared to most of the other Big 12 teams they're a step behind. The receivers will be fine, but can the quarterbacks get them the ball and make them better?
Outlook: This should be the best receiving corps in the Paul Rhoads era by far. There's a great combination of speed, athleticism and depth with enough options to spread the ball around and enough talent to make the passing game a major plus for the first time in a long time.
Unit Rating: 7

Offensive Line

The line did a relatively nice job last year, but now it'll be without star tackle Kelechi Osemele, one of the Big 12's best blockers and needs senior Carter Bykowski to become a factor right away. At 6-8 and 303 pounds he's a huge lineman with a great frame, and as a former tight end he can move a little bit. He has just enough starting time to be ready to go. Also in the fight for the starting job is 6-6, 294-pound junior Kyle Litchenberg, a nice reserve who added 20 pounds and should be able to do more. If he doesn't take over on the left side, he could step in on the right.

After missing almost all of last year out after breaking his leg, 6-6, 298-pound senior Brayden Burris beefed up and should be able to do more at right tackle. He moves well and is experienced after starting 11 times two years ago, but he has a hard time staying healthy suffering a knee injury earlier in his career.

Back in the middle is 6-4, 280-pound center Tom Farniok, who started every game last season as a freshman. The sophomore is growing into the job adding a bit more weight and doing a decent job as the quarterback up front. This is his job now without question, but 6-3, 304-pound senior Sam Tautolo can step in and add more size after stepping in from the JUCO ranks.

6-4, 318-pound junior Ethan Tuftee should be the anchor up front at left guard after starting ten games but suffered a knee injury. Very big and very talented, he was one of the team's top recruits a few years ago and he's showing good fight as a top run blocker.

The right guard job is a bit up for grabs after 6-5, 318-pound sophomore Shaban Dika suffered a torn ACL this offseason. 6-7, 286-pound sophomore Jacob Gannon saw time in 13 games and should be ready to take over, even if he's built like a tackle.

On the way is Duaron Williams, the team's top recruit with 6-4, 290-pound size and a world of upside. While he's built like a tackle, he'll get every chance to battle for the starting right guard job. The Orlando native had his choice of mid-level BCS programs, but several cooled on him after he missed most of last year with a torn ACL. With a little time he could be a major coup for the Cyclones.

Watch Out For … the health of Burris. If he can stay in one piece the right tackle job is set, but if he's hurt or struggles at all, there should be some reshuffling with Litchenberg looking ready for a bigger role.
Strength: Upside. The potential is there for this to be a strength with three returning starters and everyone trying to come back healthy. The line wasn't bad last season and it was never healthy. If the starting five can stay alive, it should be a good group.
Weakness: Kelechi Osemele. He should be a great part of the Baltimore Ravens for the next few years after serving as the main man for the Cyclone line. While he was banged up a bit, he was still the one the line worked around and there's no one on this year's line with the same talent.
Outlook: Considering no one seemed able to stay healthy, the line did a nice job last season and now there's good upside and depth to play around with. Overall the veterans have beefed up and should be more physical and tougher after banging away throughout last year. There might not be any superstars, but it should be a solid line.
Unit Rating: 6.5

- 2012 Iowa State Preview | 2012 Iowa State Offense
- 2012 Iowa State Defense | 2012 Iowa State Depth Chart