2014 Iowa St Preview: What You Need To Know
Iowa State RB Aaron Wimberly
Iowa State RB Aaron Wimberly
Posted May 31, 2014

Preview 2014 - What You Need To Know About Iowa State

2014 Iowa State Preview

What You Need To Know...

- 2014 Iowa State Preview 
2014 Depth Chart & Unit Rankings To Come This Summer

What You Need To Know About The Offense: Former Kansas head man Mark Mangino will try to change around an inconsistent attack that had little pop or explosion and almost no luck with injuries. The O line that went through several bumps and bruises last season should be stronger and deeper after so many key players got into the mix, and now, led by C Tom Farniok and OT Jacob Gannon, it could be one of the Big 12's better all-around front fives. The receiving corps has to be better, especially the inconsistent but dangerous Quenton Bundrage at one receiver spot, but E.J. Bibbs could blossom into one of the league's top tight ends. The backfield is full of veterans, but the quarterback situation has to be settled and needs to find a more accurate playmaker, but having the ultra-quick Aaron Wimberly to hand off to will help.

What You Need To Know About The Defense: It's all about the defensive tackles. The end tandem of Cory Morrissey and Mitchell Meyers aren't going to be Clowney & Watt any time soon when it comes to getting to the quarterback, but they're strong, veteran defenders with good size and a decent enough burst to be disruptive. The linebackers are deep with several options – it should be a better situation even after losing leading tackler Jeremiah George – and the secondary that did a decent job last year should be even better with three good corners back led by sophomore Nigel Tribune. But the key to the D will be the tackles after David Irving and Rodney Coe were suspended from the team. A good rotation has to be found in a hurry.  

Players You Need To Know

1. C Tom Farniok, Sr.
One of the key constants on a banged up line, the 6-4, 300-pound Farniok was one of the rocks, starting every game but one and fighting through injury to be the star and leader up front. Beefed up, he went from being a quick and feisty 285-pounder to a strong rock who has improved year after year. Even with the Big 12 loaded with good centers, he still stood out with his consistency and toughness for the ground game.

2. RB Aaron Wimberly, Sr.
There were other good backs in the mix to start the season, but it was Wimberly, a JUCO transfer, who ended up leading the team with 567 rushing yards and two scores. The 5-9, 174-pounder is ultra-quick with good hands, catching 18 passes for 211 yards and two scores, and rocking as a kickoff returner averaging 33.7 yards per try on his six attempts. While he's not a workhorse, and he was dinged up through the middle of the season, but he still managed to come up with 137 rushing yards against Tulsa and followed it up with 117 against Texas. The former NJCAA All-American has a great blend of speed and cutback ability, and if he can stay in one piece, he could be a threat for 1,000 yards.

3. TE E.J. Bibbs, Sr.
In a bit of a surprise, Bibbs came in from the JUCO ranks and turned into one of the team's better offensive weapons finishing second on the team with 39 grabs for 462 yards and two scores. At 6-3 and 261 pounds, he's a big, thick target who hits well and has the consistent route-running ability to be a good outlet valve for a few grabs a game. While he's not necessarily an explosive receiver, he came up with enough big plays late in the season to be used more down the field. With better quarterback play, he might be in for all-star honors.

4. DE Cory Morrissey, Sr.
The former JUCO transfer came in from Iowa Western and was a key backup in his first year, and then he turned into the team's best defensive lineman last season earning All-Big 12 honors making 52 tackles with two sacks and a team-leading three recovered fumbles. At 6-4 and 260 pounds he's a big pass rusher who pushes his way into a play. Active, he's good against the run, but now he has to come up with more sacks and more pressure on the passer.

5. WR Quenton Bundrage, Jr.
It's all about consistency, and that comes from the quarterback play, too. When the 6-2, 191-pound junior was on, he was a devastating weapon catching seven passes for 146 yards and three scores against Iowa and making two touchdown grabs against both Oklahoma State and West Virginia. The problem was that he went silent at times, catching three passes or fewer six times. The talent and ability are there, and now he has the chance to be even more of a key part to the offense if he can stretch the field on a regular basis.

6. LB Alton Meeks, RFr.
Meeks came to Iowa State as a quarterback, and not he'll likely be the new star of the linebacking corps working in the middle. At 6-2 and 249 pounds, the redshirt freshman has great size and is extremely tough – he was a Florida state champion high school wrestler – and in this defense, even though he'll make a slew of mistakes until he figures out what he's doing, he'll almost certainly lead the team in tackles.

7. QB Grant Rohach, Soph.
It's going to be a battle for the starting quarterback job, but Rohach had a good enough offseason to look like the answer for the next few seasons. The 6-1, 224-pound sophomore doesn't have the typical size or stature, but he's a good runner with a live arm and decent passing skills. He only ran for 88 yards, and he struggled when he had to face defenses that could play, but he lit up Kansas and West Virginia throwing for 300 and 331 yards, respectively, with six scores. Can he produce against the better defenses and under pressure? If not, he'll have to fight to hold off Sam B. Richardson and redshirt freshman Joel Lanning.

8. DE Mitchell Meyers, Soph.
With offenses looking to stop Cory Morrissey, Meyers should take off on the other side after showing fantastic potential this offseason. The 6-4, 262-pound sophomore only made 15 tackles with 1.5 tackles for loss, but he should be a five-sack producer with the quickness off the ball and the closing ability to grow into a difference-maker. Smart, he's an all-star in the classroom, and he could be on the field, too.

9. QB Sam B. Richardson, Jr.
This could be his starting quarterback job after losing it late last season and not being quite as good as Grant Rohach this offseason, but he has shown enough magic at times to potentially run the attack again if he can be a little stronger throwing the ball. The Florida native is a top dual-threat option with a good enough arm to get by and 6-2, 223-pound size, but he didn't stretch the field after hitting ten touchdown passes in the first five games and just one the rest of the way. However, he almost pulled out the Texas game and was fantastic in defeat in 2012 against West Virginia.

10. LB Jared Brackens, Sr.
Can he get his starting job back after getting pushed aside this offseason? The former strong safety isn't all that big on the strongside at 6-1 and 215 pounds, but he has range finishing third on the team making 61 tackles, and he could get behind the line once in a while. He'll be part of a rotation with Drake Ferch with better range and more experience.

- 2014 Iowa State Preview