Paul Rhoads surprised some of us during the National Signing Day Press Conference on Wednesday. He held up the letter of intent signed by Allen Lazard, raved about the young man, and even gloated by calling out other schools, in this case Notre Dame and Iowa, in their attempts to recruit Lazard after he had verbally committed.
Oct 26, 2013; Ames, IA, USA; Iowa State Cyclones head coach Paul Rhoads argues a call during the second quarter against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Jack Trice Stadium. Oklahoma State defeated Iowa State 58-27. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Over the years we have seen Paul Rhoads in many different forms in front of the press. He’s been sad, mad, overjoyed, defensive, and sometimes overly emotional to the extent his opening statements go viral.
Some may not have liked what Rhoads said about Lazard, the coach put the recruit up on a pedestal over the rest of the freshmen class and over all other players Rhoads recruited during his time in Ames. Rightly so.
Lazard is arguably the biggest recruit in Iowa State history. The Cyclones don’t get players like him often, and Wednesday was an opportunity for Rhoads to show the success of Iowa State on the recruiting trail, and the excitement around a program that has captured Cyclone Nation over recent years despite four consecutive losing seasons.
Rhoads also said Lazard will be off limits to media during his freshmen year stating, “I think he’s earned that after what he’s been through the last 14 months.” [via The Des Moines Register]
I like this decision for a couple reasons. For starters, Lazard does deserve this. There has not been a high school talent in Iowa State history to receive the same amount of press while still in high school. It will also give Lazard a chance to focus on football, which will be very helpful in the event he hits a stretch of poor play.
Allen Lazard is simply a talent that Iowa State doesn’t get often. Join Paul Rhoads and celebrate beating out top programs to get him. Understand how talented he is, and enjoy watching him over the next four seasons.