AMES — ISU starting right cornerback Jeremy Reeves could have received a scholarship offer from Texas, but for one thing.
“(Longhorns coach Mack Brown) said if I was a little bit taller they would have got me,” said the 5-foot-7 Reeves, a junior who has played in all but two games since arriving in Ames in 2009. “That’s the case for everybody else, but I guess I have to prove everybody wrong.”
Reeves, who notched one of three interceptions in last year’s historic 28-21 Cyclone win at Austin, said he was dubbed two small by one other big-time Big 12 program coming out of high school.
“Oklahoma,” he said.
Despite his short stature, Reeves shines as part of an ISU secondary singled out for praise by Brown in Monday’s Big 12 coaches teleconference.
“Because they’re so talented as a secondary they trust those guys and can press you and play man coverage all over the field,” Brown said.
Reeves said quickness helps make up the height difference against often taller receivers, but success boils down to a less measurable attribute.
“It starts off with confidence and believing I can play against anybody,” Reeves said.
Cyclone Coach Paul Rhoads started Monday’s news conference by offering condolences to the Bleil family.
Fred Bleil, a former defensive coordinator at Drake and the brother of ISU associate head coach Bill Bleil, died Sunday night after battling cancer, Rhoads said.
“Thoughts and prayers go out to Bill Bleil and his family and Fred’s family, certainly, as well,” Rhoads said. “I got my start under Fred Bleil. I was a graduate assistant under him and (former Drake coach) Chuck Shelton at Utah State back in 1989 and 1990. (He’s) a guy who had a very large influence on my coaching career.”
Big brother watching
ISU linebacker and leading tackler Jake Knott worked in a full weekend of football watching while enjoying a bye.
The highlight: Cheering on brother Luke — a Cyclone recruit from Lee’s Summit (Mo.) West high school — in a 17-0 win Friday night.
“It was nice to finally be able to see him play,” Jake Knott said. “Second game I’ve ever been able to see him play, so it was nice.”
ISU’s leading wide receiver Darius Reynolds pegs his vertical leap at 38.5 inches.
His coach rounded that up to 40.
Either way, it’s impressive — so much so that Reynolds once took part in a high school slam dunk tournament.
He settled for third.
But what was the winner’s signature slam?
“He jumped over four guys at the line,” Reynolds said. “Hard to top that.”
Top 25 watchISU received 21 votes in the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll. That ranked 29th overall — four votes behind Gene Chizik-led and defending national champion Auburn. “There’s a lot at stake,” running back Shontrelle Johnson said of Saturday’s showdown with No. 17 Texas.