116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
AMES — As the college football world intensely focuses on what has happened with Texas and Oklahoma’s acceptance into the SEC, what is happening with the move and what will happen, let’s take the next few minutes to focus on something else.
After all, a football season is going to kick off in a month’s time and Iowa State is expected to start the year as a top-10 team. So let’s talk about football.
Coach Matt Campbell and his Cyclone football team have had strength and conditioning coach Dave Andrews for a full offseason. The staff and players have sung his praises but what do the results look like on the updated roster?
We’ll start with the most important player on offense — quarterback Brock Purdy.
Purdy’s size has never been impressive. When he came to Iowa State by way of Gilbert, Ariz., Purdy was just 6-foot-1 and 201 pounds. Last season, as a junior, he was listed at 212 pounds.
Now, with a full offseason of strength training with Andrews, Purdy is up to 220 pounds, which is as big or bigger than eight of Iowa State’s linebackers.
During spring practice, quarterback coach Joel Gordon noted that Purdy seemed to have shed most of the baby fat he had when arriving in Ames.
Purdy has always played with a little reckless abandon — sliding has never been his priority while scrambling. The added weight should let him hold up to a few more hits and maintain his durability.
While the quarterback is the most important player, the running of the football is what Campbell and offensive coordinator Tom Manning hang their hat on.
Andrews said during spring that running back Breece Hall has put on lean muscle to “add more horsepower.” He added five pounds during the offseason to get up to 220 pounds, as well.
“Man, I’m proud of how he’s adapted his recovery methods but from a physical sense, he is going to be leaner, he’s going to carry more muscle mass, which in turn will carry more horsepower not only to break tackles but if you have more horsepower, you’re capable of accelerating better, which will make it look like he’s faster,” Andrews said.
As for the tight ends and wide receivers, tight end Chase Allen put on 10 pounds to get up to 250. Charlie Kolar, at one time, was in Purdy’s camp as far as baby fat goes. But now, tight ends coach Taylor Mouser said he’s embarrassed to stand next to him because Kolar “has muscles on his muscles.”
Tarique Milton, who battled injuries all last season, put on seven pounds to get up to 195. At 5-foot-10, being at or near 200 pounds could help him take a few more hits.
On the other end of the height spectrum, 6-foot-6 Sean Shaw is up from 212 pounds to 220. That added weight puts him more in the Allen Lazard and Hakeem Butler range.
Lastly, for the big boys up front, Campbell was most excited about Andrews’ impact on them. Across the board, the starting offensive linemen averaged seven to 15 pounds gained.
Left tackle Sean Foster, a behemoth at 6-foot-8, went from 318 to 325. Right guard Darrel Simmons, who was a freshman last year when he filled in for Trevor Downing, went from 306 to 315. Left guard Derek Schweiger went from 311 to 325.
The defensive line underwent a similar transformation to the offensive line.
The most important of those transformations was Will McDonald, who led the nation in sacks last season with 10.5 while being exclusively used off the bench while weighing just 230 pounds.
McDonald added 15 pounds and is up to 245. McDonald said during the spring that his goal was to get up to 250 by the time the season rolled around by eating seven meals a day.
Opposite McDonald, Enyi Uwazurike gained 10 pounds and is up to 320 pounds.
The linebacker position might’ve undergone the least amount of physical size change, but as Andrews said, that doesn’t mean they didn’t add lean muscle.
Mike Rose, O’Rien Vance and Jake Hummel all added between five and seven pounds.
While the linebackers didn’t change a ton, the back end of Iowa State’s defense has.
Hard-hitting safety Isheem Young put on 10 pounds to get up to 210 pounds and fellow safety Greg Eisworth went from 198 to 205, adding it’s the best he’s felt.
At the cornerback position, Tayvonn Kyle and Datrone Young are both up to 180 pounds from 174 and 170, respectively.
T.J. Tampa, a young defensive back that saw some playing time last year as a true freshman, put on 12 pounds to get up to 190 pounds.