Iowa State Cyclones

Iowa State football notebook: Why Joe Scates sprinted to hug Matt Campbell after his touchdown

'Nobody's made more growth and change in the last 12 months

Iowa State wide receiver Joseph Scates (9) celebrates with Deshaunte Jones (8) after catching a touchdown pass against West Virginia on Saturday at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W. Va. (Ben Queen/USA TODAY Sports)
Iowa State wide receiver Joseph Scates (9) celebrates with Deshaunte Jones (8) after catching a touchdown pass against West Virginia on Saturday at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W. Va. (Ben Queen/USA TODAY Sports)

AMES — Iowa State receiver Joe Scates had an inauspicious start to his college football career.

Scates was among the four freshman football players who were suspended last season for an incident involving a BB gun.

Former Iowa State player Dallas Taylor-Cortez pointed a BB gun with a laser pointer taped on top at people. Police were called and Taylor-Cortez and the three other players with him were suspended.

Taylor-Cortez was charged with harassment and eventually kicked off the team.

Ever since, Scates, a former 4-star recruit, has been on pretty thin ice.

But the redshirt freshman used this last year to mature and get right. Fellow receiver Tarique Milton said Scates is a completely different person now. When he first got to Iowa State, all Scates cared about was the “college experience.” Milton said now Scates’ sole focus is now on football.

Scates has played in every game for Iowa State this season but didn’t get his first reception until the TCU game two weeks ago.

Last week against West Virginia, he caught his first touchdown — an 18-yarder from Brock Purdy in the fourth quarter to put Iowa State up 31-14.

“That’s what I love about coaching,” Campbell said. “For me, it’s way more about, man, you see some of these young people and they all come from different backgrounds, and how do you help these young people become the best version of them that they can be? It’s truly my greatest joy in what I get to do and Joe’s not a finished product. Joe’s a young man that’s worked really hard.

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“Nobody’s made more growth and change in the last 12 months at Iowa State than Joe Scates, and Joe is a young man that knows it. He knows that the structure and the discipline (is what) he needs, and he’s been willing to listen. He’s been willing to use that to better himself to become the best he can be.”

Scates reciprocated his appreciation for what Campbell’s done for him immediately after the touchdown. Scates ran up behind Campbell and gave his coach a hug.

“No, I didn’t know who it was, but quickly in my mind I figured out who it was him,” Campbell said. “Joe and I have got a great relationship and sometimes, if you know me, I’m going to pretty much tell you how it is, right, wrong or indifferent. Joe and I have had those long talks and conversations, so I appreciate him a great deal and I appreciate that he wants that discipline in his life and he’s done a great job using it to better himself.”

Scates has always been talented, but it seems that he’s starting to show just how talented he is.

“I think he’s one of the most talented players in our program and just a young guy who’s craving to become the best version of him that he possibly can be,” Campbell said. “It’s going to be fun to watch Joe grow in this program, because I think he’s got all the potential in the world.”

Young Cyclones stepping up

Twenty-two of Iowa State’s 27 offensive touchdowns this season have been scored by non-seniors.

“It’s fascinating,” Campbell said. “I was looking at last week’s game and everybody that scored was a freshman or sophomore. You can look at our team and say, ‘It’s a senior-laden team.’ But the reality of it is, it’s not. It’s really a young football team in a whole lot of ways. One of the things that’s been really fun about this group and this dynamic we have on this year’s team is we do have some veteran guys. But the bulk of this team and this roster is young.

“The thing that’s so positive is they’re seeing the veterans that have sacrificed and given, and these young guys are starting to follow suit.”

Injury report

Safety Greg Eisworth and linebacker O’Rien Vance were at practice Monday, but their status for the Texas Tech game remains up in the air.

“Greg Eisworth practiced a little bit last week towards the end of last week,” Campbell said. “He was at practice yesterday and we’ll have a great evaluation as we get into the thick of this week of where he’s at, but he’s certainly a lot better.

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“O’Rien Vance, same thing. He was at practice yesterday, so that was really positive for us. I think both guys, right now, are probable to questionable for Saturday’s football game.”

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