Trevor Downing talks about what it takes to be a good offensive lineman and his rise to become that
Randy Peterson, firstname.lastname@example.org
AMES, Ia. — It was spring. Planting season at the Downing family farm outside Creston. Trevor Downing was there. Iowa State football teammate Colin Newell was there learning the ropes of what it takes to be one of our hard-working, good ol’ Iowa farmers.
Suddenly, Downing called home. He was stuck in the muck. He needed someone to pull him out.
“So Colin got in the biggest tractor that John Deere makes,” Trevor’s mom, Lesa, told me Friday. “He drove 28 miles and pulled Trevor out of the mud.
“I sent Colin’s mom a picture of it. She called me and said that Colin’s not really driving that tractor — and I said he certainly is.”
The city-slicker from Ames helped the farm kid out of a hole — “and Colin hasn’t let Trevor forget it,” Lesa laughed.
It’s just one example of the recent camaraderie among what could be a very good Cyclones offensive line.
“The offensive line has come together. It’s a different room,” offensive line coach Jeff Myers said. “They’re a lot closer than they’ve ever been.
“When we first got here, that room was kind of beaten down and looked at as the reason why (Iowa State wasn’t winning). We wanted to build a confidence mentality — a mentality in which they believe in themselves.”
Senior starters Julian Good-Jones, Collin Olson, Josh Knipfel and Bryce Meeker were the catalysts for change. Their actions, on and off the field, carried over to everyone — including underclassman starter Newell, and Downing, a positive-trending freshman.
“It’s like all those guys have become brothers,” Lesa Downing said.
The rumor is that they have matching tattoos — but none of them will confirm or deny. “In-house,” Trevor Downing said.
They spent few days at Newell’s place on Ten-Mile Lake in Minnesota. That helped a bunch, all agree.
“The offensive line room — when I first got here we weren’t that close,” said Downing, a redshirt freshman who has starting potential at a guard position. “That trip to the lake house brought us close. We spent three days together, just hanging out, boating and going to the casino.”
They drove Downing’s “party bus” eight or so hours to the lake, but back to the casino for a moment.
“Yeah I was the biggest loser,” Downing said. “I lost like $400 or so, but just being with the guys — it was worth it.”
If someone’s looking for the guys during time away from the practice field, you might start at the apartment that Downing shares with Newell and Tucker Robertson.
“We sent a smoker up to Ames,” Lesa Downing said. “Trevor has it at the apartment. Trevor smokes and grills the meat.”
I wrote extensively about Trevor when he committed to Iowa: State. Here’s part of that May 2017 story:
Pat him on the back if you see this 6-foot-5, 290-pound giant walking around Creston. Honest to goodness, he selected a school based on an academic major. Shout him an attaboy for continuing a field into which he was born, but don’t be too concerned if you can’t find him.
He’s probably out there someplace among 15,000 acres of farmland his family owns. He might be on a gigantic tractor or piloting some other sophisticated and expensive piece of farming equipment. He might be in one of the families’ nine hog barns, tending to the 10,000 pigs his close-knit family has.
Shoot, he might even be down at the shed at his grandfather’s place, hanging out and playing cribbage or welding back together equipment that’s gone a bit haywire.
“It’s all real,” Trevor’s mom told me about this high-level high school football player who actually made his college decision based on academic opportunities.
That’s almost too good to be true, a recruit actually choosing one school over another based on academic interests.
Coach Matt Campbell and then-offensive line coach Tom Manning knew all about Downing’s farming background. Their combined knowledge of life outside the city, by the way, is — zilch.
Anyhow, they walked Downing and his family around Iowa State’s Ag 450 Farm — billed to be the nation’s only completely student-run land grant institution.
Campbell and Manning wore dress shoes when heading out to the field — not knowing that farmers don’t wear dress shoes on the farm.
They obviously muddied their shoes, to which Trevor cracked:
“They’re all from the city, that’s for sure.”
But it was a city-slicker that pulled him out of a muddy hole back on the family farm — about which Trevor said:
“He doesn’t let me forget it, either.”
Randy Peterson is the Iowa State columnist for the Register. Reach him at email@example.com, 515-284-8132, and on Twitter at @RandyPete. No one covers the Cyclones like the Register. Subscribe today at Des Moines Register.com/Deal to make sure you never miss a moment.
Source: Des Moines Register