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AMES — When Brock Purdy trained for Iowa State’s pro day and the forthcoming NFL Draft, he knew a friend and former teammate sat somewhere across the country, a mere text or phone call away.
So when all of the Cyclones’ NFL hopefuls assembled just over a month ago at the Bergstrom Football Complex, grins and high-fives punctuated what could have been a high-stress morning of drills, dashes and downfield throws.
“We’ve all kept in touch,” said Purdy, who along with several former teammates hopes to hear his name called at some point during the 2022 draft, which runs Thursday through Saturday. “We went our ways and trained and stuff and obviously when we all got back, man, it was so good to see everybody smiling and joking and hugging.
“And, obviously like for us, our brotherhood here is real. We play our four years here and everything and devote everything for each other for success on the field. But at the end of the day we come back here and you're professional and you’ve got to get the job done.”
Purdy, tight end Charlie Kolar, tailback Breece Hall, linebacker Mike Rose, defensive tackle Enyi Uwazurike and a handful of other ISU players who helped the Cyclones play in four consecutive bowl games for the first time in program history all felt they performed well on pro day. What that translates to over the next three days is anyone’s guess, but it remains likely ISU will see more players drafted in that span than anytime in recent memory.
Hall, of course, is likely to be the first Cyclone off the board. The two-time consensus All-American is generally considered to be the best running back available, and slated to be selected anytime from late in the first round until deep into the third.
“I just feel like being able to be a three-down back is most important in this game today,” Hall said.
Kolar and Uwazurike also are expected to be selected in the draft, but there are obviously no guarantees. Other ISU standouts such as linebacker Jake Hummel, tight end Chase Allen, safety Greg Eisworth, Purdy and Rose retain high hopes as well, and will be valued undrafted free agents at minimum.
“At the end of the day, I do believe that I am a winner,” said Purdy, ISU’s winningest quarterback of all time. “I get the job done. I give my team a chance to win.”
To put all of this into perspective, the last time as many as three Cyclones were drafted was 2001, when Reggie Hayward, James Reed and Sage Rosenfels heard their names called. So even if Eisworth, Hummel, Purdy, Allen and Rose aren’t drafted — and Hall, Kolar and Uwazurike are, as expected — this could be a historic three days for the program.
“I couldn’t be happier with the people I’m here with,” Kolar said on pro day. “It’s just great. I’m full of gratitude.”
Those warm feelings could swell for Kolar, Hall and Uwazurike — and any or all of their former teammates who maintain strong bonds even as “real life” scatters them in different directions.
That’s part of the “process” head coach Matt Campbell talks about. So expect more smiling, joking and hugging for many years to come, regardless of what happens Thursday through Saturday.
“It’s gonna last for the rest of our lives, our friendships and relationships,” Purdy said. “I’m so pumped for them moving forward. It’s gonna be sweet.”