AMES — Books and blocks.
Both mean a great deal to four-star Rivals.com offensive line prospect Jake Campos of West Des Moines Valley.
And Iowa State, he said, provided the best academic-athletic balance for him, so he committed Saturday night to play football for Coach Paul Rhoads — and work toward an engineering degree.
“They have a spectacular engineering program,” said Campos, who reportedly had previously committed to Missouri. “And they have over 15 engineers (majors) on the football team right now, so it can be done and that makes me feel really good. Everything was a great fit.”
Campos also drew strong interest and offers from Oklahoma, Kansas State and Iowa, among several other schools.
He said he committed to ISU shortly after watching the Cyclone men’s basketball team beat BYU 83-62 Saturday at Hilton Coliseum.
A scheduled visit next week to Missouri became immaterial, unneeded — not because of hoops, but because of Rhoads, his staff and his players.
“After the basketball game we went back to the practice facility and watched film with (offensive line coach Bill) Bliel,” Campos said. “Then coach Rhoads came and got me — my mom and dad and I, and (we) went into his office. He talked to us a little bit and asked how they were doing in recruiting me. I said I wanted to be a Cyclone. He kind of slammed his chair, jumped in the air and gave me a big hug. It was awesome.”
Valley has become a football pipeline to Ames.
Four former Tigers currently dot the Cyclones’ roster: Nose tackle Jake McDonough (sr.); punter Kirby Van Der Kamp (jr.); defensive lineman Nick Kron (soph.)l and wide receiver Matt Van Dyke.
For awhile it appeared Campos would remain a Tiger — just farther South — until Rhoads and his staff won out in the end.
Campos said the atmosphere that’s been created is a big reason why.
Game day’s a big day.
Wasn’t always that way.
“I’ve gone to a couple games and the energy at Jack Trice (Stadium) is out of this world,” Campos said. “You can tell when you talk to anyone who’s a Cyclone fan. Everybody’s very excited for what’s happening up there.”
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