Iowa State 2022 point guard target Tamin Lipsey of Ames High discusses the latest in his recruitment.
Matthew Bain, Sports writer
Let’s get right to the questions this week.
I thought Iowa State was pretty well positioned with Gavin Williams. Did them taking two backs in 2019 affect that, or was he more a heavy Iowa lean the whole time? — @C_Roberts22
I doubt Iowa State taking two 2019 running backs had any effect. Remember, by adding Shadrick Byrd right before the early signing period, Iowa also took two running backs in the class.
Yes, the Cyclones were positioned well with Williams. The choice wasn’t easy for the Register’s No. 1 in-state 2020 prospect.
“Being only 16 and having the pressure of which school to choose for your future is a huge responsibility,” Williams’ mom, Kori, told me Monday night.
“And now, a breath of fresh air.”
Although there were other schools involved, this battle was mainly between the Hawkeyes and Cyclones. Honestly, six months ago, I might have predicted Williams would pick Iowa State. There were factors that, at the time, seemed like they’d tip the scales toward Ames.
So, no, I wouldn’t say Williams was a heavy Iowa lean the whole time.
As Kori Williams told me in August, her son’s recruitment was always going to boil down to one element: relationships. Williams is all about relationships. He’s careful to let down his guard and allows only a few people behind the emotional walls he puts up.
But that also means if you earn his trust and get past the walls, you’re in. You’re family.
“Every time I go up there since (Iowa running backs coach Derrick) Foster has been here, we’ve had about an hour or an hour-and-a-half — just talk,” Williams told me in August. “He reminds me a lot of my running back coach here. It was kind of like an instant connection, so it feels nice.”
Although he is the newest addition to Iowa’s staff, it also helps that Foster wasn’t hired to replace the coach who offered Williams a scholarship. For Iowa State, I think Lou Ayeni leaving hurt here. Ayeni gave Williams his first college offer after his freshman year.
That isn’t a knock on current running backs coach Nate Scheelhaase, who essentially started a leg behind with Williams. Gavin and Kori have always had nothing but good things to say about Scheelhaase — in both casual conversations and interviews.
But when the guy you formed an early connection with leaves, yes, that might affect things.
What are ISU’s top football targets heading into the late signing period? — @TheDudeofAmes
The biggest name would probably be Miami graduate transfer receiver Lawrence Cager, who told me he’ll take an official visit to Ames the weekend of Jan. 25-27.
Originally a four-star recruit in the class of 2015, the 6-foot-5 Cager is one of the country’s most sought-after grad transfers, and he would figure to be an immediate replacement for Hakeem Butler. Oregon, Kentucky and Nebraska are among the many other schools in the picture.
Cyclones coaches are making a push here, as they visited Cager last week and again on Tuesday. There’s obviously mutual interest.
There are a few other receivers to watch, too. Ventura College transfer Brandon Jordan and Georgia product Jeremiah Pruitte stand out.
In terms of other positions …
Georgia three-star Allen Smith will officially visit Iowa State from Jan. 24-26. The former North Carolina recruit is also taking an official to Louisville this weekend. The Cyclones offered on Jan. 7 and both parties quickly scheduled the visit.
California three-star Tuasivi Nomura has been a Cyclones target for quite a while, but USC is trending very well here. Kansas State also just jumped in this week.
California three-star Jonathan Thomas told me Iowa State reached out to him in early January. If things fall through with Smith and Nomura, Thomas could be one to watch.
At cornerback …
Georgia three-star Tavian Mayo is the guy right now. He’ll officially visit Ames this weekend. He has also officially visited North Carolina, Nebraska and West Virginia.
At offensive line …
Tyler Junior College (Texas) product James Price is on the Cyclones’ radar. The 6-5, 295-pounder told me offensive line coach Jeff Myers contacted him last week. Price is scheduled to officially visit FIU and Washington State the next two weekends. He also took an official to Southern Miss in December.
At defensive line …
Georgia three-star defensive lineman Zaylin Wood is set to officially visit Iowa State this weekend. The Cyclones are thought to be positioned quite well for the former Temple recruit.
A wild card …
Chicago four-star athlete Alante Brown could be one to monitor. He’s still committed to Michigan State, although he didn’t sign in December. Iowa State offered last week, joining Florida State, Cincinnati and FAU among his new offers. Brown played quarterback at Simeon, but the 6-foot, 190-pound athlete could play any number of positions in college. We’ll see if anything develops here.
Have you ever considered changing the spelling of your last name to Bane and wearing a fancy respirator all the time? — @WideRtNattyLt
Yes. Every morning, every afternoon, every night. Every time I take a shower. Every time I eat breakfast. Every time I drive my car. Every time I walk into the newsroom. Every time I blink. Every waking moment, really.
(If you need me to say “just kidding” here, then I must not be good at conveying sarcasm.)
It’s actually really funny that WideRtNattyLt asked this.
See, two things happened in 2012 …
One: “The Dark Knight Rises” came out. Two: I was a freshman in college.
I swear, every time I met someone new that year, whether it was in the dorms or just anywhere on campus, people would give me their best Tom-Hardy-as-Bane impression and ask me if my last name was spelled the same way. I had no choice but to develop the best dang Bane voice you’ll ever hear and respond with: “You’ll never know.”
What is the difference between a “preferred” walk on and a “regular/non-preferred” walk on? — @ted_rood
Good to have you back in the mailbag, Ted!
A preferred walk-on is treated as a full scholarship player in every sense, except they don’t have a scholarship. But they are recruited and guaranteed a spot on the team and will get the non-financial support that scholarship athletes do.
A regular walk-on isn’t guaranteed a spot on the team. Sometimes, walk-ons make the team through a tryout.
Most walk-on players are preferred walk-ons.
Matthew Bain covers college football and basketball recruiting for the Des Moines Register. He also helps out with Iowa and Iowa State football and basketball coverage for HawkCentral and Cyclone Insider. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.
Source: Des Moines Register