Iowa State announces 2021 early signing class

Dec 5, 2020; Ames, Iowa, USA; Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell watches from the sidelines during their football game at Jack Trice Stadium on Saturday. Mandatory Credit: Brian Powers-USA TODAY Sports

The following is a press release from Iowa State Athletic Communications.

AMES, Iowa – Iowa State head football coach Matt Campbell has preached the importance of identifying players who will have success transitioning into its established “five-star culture.”

Campbell is certain he found the right fit of players to continue the favorable upward trend of Cyclone football with the announcement of the early signeees of the 2021 class today. 

“Our program is thrilled to welcome the 2021 recruiting class to Cyclone football,” Campbell said. “This is a group that number one, fits the culture we have created inside of our walls. We truly believe you win with people, and this is a group that embodies the characteristics which have allowed us to find success at Iowa State. In addition to the character of this recruiting class, I couldn’t be more proud of how this group has approached academic success, as they have collectively shown a commitment to reaching their full potential in the classroom.”

Since Campbell took over the reins of the program prior to the 2016 season, Iowa State has dramatically improved its recruiting. The 2021 recruiting class is ranked 45th nationally by Rivals and No. 51 by 247Sports. Iowa State’s composite ranking by 247Sports is 84.79, one of the highest totals in school history.

Big out-of-state pickups in this class are DB Malik Verdon (Hamilton, Ohio) and WR Jaylin Noel (Kansas City, Mo.), who both had a number of “power five” offers. Noel tallied over 1,000 yards receiving on 68 receptions while earning all-state accolades. Verdon, who played quarterback, wide receiver and defensive back, was rated as the 12th-best athlete nationally by Rivals.

Campbell signed five Iowans in this class in OL Jim Bonifas (Dubuque), OL Tyler Maro (Davenport), TE Tyler Moore (Johnston), Joey Petersen (Long Grove) and Dodge Sauser (Grinnell). 

Bonifas and Maro were both Des Moines Register Elite Team All-State members and top-75 offensive tackles nationally by 247Sports. Moore is a four-star recruit and the No. 13 tight end nationally according to 247Sports.

“This is an extremely talented group, who will help fill needs across every position group both in the immediate as well as the future,” Campbell added. “Lastly, this is a group that has had great competitive success, on the football field as well as in other sports. As a whole, I am proud of the group we have put together and truly grateful for their belief in Iowa State football.”

Signed National Letters of Intent

Name                                 Ht.             Wt.      Yr.        Pos.                                          Hometown

Jim Bonifas                        6-5             267     Fr.        OL             Dubuque, Iowa (Senior)

    Des Moines Register Elite Team member and first-team all-state selection in 2020; a top-70 OT nationally by 247Sports/Rivals.

*Howard Brown                 6-2             305     Fr.        DL             Kansas City, Mo. (Lincoln College Prep)

    Considered a top-30 DT nationally by 247Sports; played QB in H.S., accumulating over 7,000 yards of total offense.

Beau Freyler                      6-2             205     Fr.        DB             Colorado Springs, Colo. (Pine Creek)

    Two-time all-state pick; 53rd-best safety nationally by 247Sports; led team to 2019 state title with 73 tackles and three picks.

Jayden Gray                      6-3             235     Fr.        DE             Haslet, Texas (V. R. Eaton)

    Two-time all-district pick and Dallas Morning News top-100 member; posted over 100 tackles in his final two seasons.

*Ben Langston                    6-2             195      So.       DB             The Woodlands, Texas (The Woodlands/Blinn JC)

    No. 1 safety and 33rd-best JC player nationally according to 247Sports; all-conference in 2019 with 52 tackles & four picks.

Tyler Maro                         6-7             260     Fr.        OL                                          Davenport, Iowa (Assumption)

    Top-50 OT nationally and top-10 player in Iowa by Rivals; Des Moines Register Elite Team member in 2020; had 38 offers. 

Carston Marshall               6-3             205     Fr.        LB                                          Wadsworth, Ohio (Wadsworth)

    Two-time All-Suburban League pick; recorded 133 tackles, 16.0 TFL and seven sacks in last two seasons as a prep.

Myles Mendeszoon           6-4             200     Fr.        LB             Chardon, Ohio (Chardon)

    Three-star recruit by 247Sports; a top-60 WDE nationally by 247Sports; had 60 tackles to lead team to state title (12-0).

*Tristan Michaud               6-6             200     Fr.        WR            Quebec City, Quebec (Courvilloise)

    Three-star recruit by 247Sports and Rivals; a top-150 WR nationally by 247Sports.

*Tyler Moore                      6-5             243     Fr.        TE             Des Moines, Iowa (Johnston)

    Four-star recruit by 247Sports; No. 6 player in Iowa and No. 13 tight end nationally by 247Sports; first-team all-state in 2020.

*Jaylin Noel                       5-10           175     Fr.        WR            Kansas City, Mo. (Park Hill)

    No. 8 player in Missouri and 87th-best WR nationally by 247Sports; all-stater in 2020 with 68 catches, 1,005 yards and 10 TDs.

Tyler Onyedim                   6-4             280     Fr.        DT                                          Richmond, Texas (Foster)

    Three-star recruit and ranked as the 74th-best DT nationally by 247Sports; tallied 63 tackles and 21.0 TFL as a senior.

Joey Petersen                   6-4             210     Fr.        DE             Long Grove, Iowa (North Scott)

    First-team all-state selection by the Des Moines Register and IPSWA; led team to state title in 2020 with 47.5 tackles & 13.0 TFL.

Myles Purchase                 5-11           180     Fr.        DB             Denver, Colo. (Cherry Creek)

    Three-time all-state selection; led team to state titles in 2019 & 2020; Colorado Class 5A Player of the Year in 2020.

Aidan Ralph                       6-3             215     Fr.        LB             Chicago, Ill. (De La Salle)

    Named to the All-Chicago Catholic League as a junior, posting 84 tackles and 14.0 TFL; top-120 LB nationally by 247Sports.

*Dodge Sauser                  6-5             280     Fr.        OL             Grinnell, Iowa (Grinnell)

    First-team all-state by the Des Moines Register and IPSWA in 2020; two-time all-district pick; top-20 player in Iowa.

*Deon Silas                       5-8             175     Fr.        RB             Lutz, Fla. (Steinbrenner)

    Set career school records in all-purpose and return yards; recorded 55 touchdowns in his career; three-time all-county selection.

*Malik Verdon                    6-4             205     Fr.        DB             Hamilton, Ohio (Hamilton)

    Rated as the 12th-best athlete nationally and player in Ohio by Rivals; all-city and all-conference selection.

*Mid-Year Enrollee


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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