Each day leading up to Iowa State’s season opener against South Dakota State, Cyclone Fanatic will check another day off the calendar with a memorable statistic, player or game as part of our Countdown to Kickoff presented by Tailgate Clothing.



Success for Iowa State football wasn’t exactly common during the middle part of last century, but the 1959 and 1960 seasons can certainly be considered outliers behind the perfect running back for Clay Stapleton’s single-wing offense.

Tom Watkins led the Cyclones to back-to-back 7-3 campaigns while earning All-American honors in 1960. The two-time All-Big Eight honoree finished his career with 1,605 yards in three collegiate seasons.

He was the nation’s second-leading rusher in 1959 with 843 yards then capped that by breaking the school’s single-season rushing touchdown record with 10 in 1960.

Watkins went on to play seven seasons in the National Football League and twice led the league in punt return yardage. He was inducted into the Iowa State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2002.


Jared Stansbury


Jared a native of Clarinda, Iowa, started as the Cyclone Fanatic intern in August 2013, primarily working as a videographer until starting on the women’s basketball beat prior to the 2014-15 season. Upon earning his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Iowa State in May 2016, Jared was hired as the site’s full-time staff writer, taking over as the primary day-to-day reporter on football and men’s basketball. He was elevated to the position of managing editor in January 2020. He is a regular contributor on 1460 KXNO in Des Moines and makes regular guest appearances on radio stations across the Midwest. Jared resides in Ankeny with his four-year-old puggle, Lolo.

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