116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
AMES — Greg Gaines enjoys dissecting his game.
Iowa State’s top-rated out-of-state recruit doesn’t simply rely on his considerable athletic abilities for success on the field. He studies every angle, every play, every possibility, down to the last detail.
That’s why the 6-foot-2, 185-pound four-star receiver (247Sports) from Tampa, Fla., chose the Matt Campbell-led Cyclones.
And it’s a big reason why Gaines — who is expected to cement his commitment on Wednesday’s early signing day — is ISU’s most-prized skill position recruit in the 2022 class.
“Honestly, I can’t even describe my love of football,” Gaines told Cyclone Fanatic after committing late in the summer. “It’s out of the hands of being able to describe in words. I would just say football is kind of my life, literally, for me.”
Gaines helps headline what looks to be the Cyclones’ highest-rated class in program history.
He’s one of 21 current commits who comprise a group that ranks 27th nationally and fourth in the Big 12, according to 247.
It’s a healthy mix of native Iowans such as four-star defensive lineman Hunter Deyo of Council Bluffs, Midwesterners from Missouri to Minnesota and Wisconsin, and several southerners from Arizona to Florida.
One area of need — linebacker — has been largely addressed in-state. Jacob Imming of Sergeant Bluff and Will McLaughlin of Harlan form two-thirds of that group.
“The thing that separates Iowa State from everybody else is just the consistency and the culture,” Imming told Cyclone Fanatic after his commitment. “And I feel like they just outwork everybody else, quite honestly.”
That’s obviously required at ISU, where, as Campbell often notes, “It’s never easy.”
That’s been particularly true in recent weeks, when Campbell was in the running for several profile jobs but remains in Ames, and a trickle of Cyclones entering the transfer portal turned into a virtual torrent. Eleven ISU players, including starting safety Isheem Young, will be taking their talents elsewhere.
But the Cyclones have been active on the other end of the portal, too. They’ve already clinched a commitment from former Minnesota defensive lineman M.J. Anderson and are looking at other transfers to help shore up a roster filled with promising youngsters, but also decimated by the departure of nearly 20 senior starters.
Many of those seniors are well-positioned to make legitimate pushes toward NFL careers and their absence translates to glittering opportunities for up-and-coming players already within the program, as well as the ones slated to join it on Wednesday.
“They’re probably gonna have five or six NFL Draft picks out of that senior class, and it’s gonna be just crazy to see what kind of guys fill those roles,” Imming said. “Obviously Iowa State’s done an amazing job recruiting everybody, but it’s gonna prove what they’re about again, and why they’ve come this far.”
So it’s less a rebuild and more of a reboot. That excites Gaines, who chose to become a Cyclone largely because of ISU wide receivers coach Nate Scheelhaase. The coach and prospective player studied the game during the recruitment process. Every angle, every play, every possibility, down to the last detail.
“Coach Scheelhaase being as young as he is and being active, I know he could get out there and teach me things, or show me the way he would like things to be done,” Gaines said.