Posts Tagged ‘Jerome Tiller’

Cyclone QB recruit about to join the “big time”

February 2, 2010

AMES – Playing in the Big 12 Conference has been a dream of quarterback Jared Barnett’s for as long as he can remember.

“That’s big time football,” Barnett said. “The Big 12 is where playmakers want to be.”

It’s where Barnett will call home starting next season once he officially accepts Iowa State’s scholarship offer Wednesday on college football’s national signing day. The Cyclones are expecting to add about 25 players to the roster.

Barnett is not the only member of his team — or family – joining one of college football’s most competitive conferences.

Three of his Garland (Texas) High School teammates also will sign with Big 12 schools.

Barnett’s cousin, Eryon, is a freshman defensive back at Texas. And Eryon Barnett’s younger brother is being pursued by Big 12 schools for next year’s recruiting class.

They all played on the same youth football teams growing up and remain close.

“(The Big 12) is kind of in our family,” said Barnett, who also had offers from Kansas State and Houston.

The 6-1, 200-pounder was the first member of ISU Coach Paul Rhoads’ first true recruiting class, and the only quarterback. Barnett gave his commitment way back in May.

“I love the offense,” he said. “It’s the same offense we run at my high school. It’s going to be an easy transition.”

Rated by Rivals.com as the 27th-best dual threat quarterback in the nation, Barnett passed for more than 2,100 yards as a senior and had 20 touchdowns to just six interceptions.

He also ran for almost 400 yards and six more scores.

Barnett almost surely will redshirt and be in the same position current Cyclone quarterback Jerome Tiller was in this past year.

Tiller, a redshirt freshman, was given the chance to win the starting job but lost out to veteran Austen Arnaud. Like Arnaud, he’ll be an experienced junior when Barnett realistically can compete for the spot.

“Let the best man win,” Barnett said. “That’s a very exciting position to fight for.”

He watched the Cyclones go 7-6 last season mainly behind the running of tailback Alexander Robinson. Offensive coordinator Tom Herman’s spread offense was more run heavy than most thought it would be.

“With a guy like Alexander Robinson it’s hard to not hand it off to him,” Barnett said. “I’m sure we’ll pick up the passing more as everybody gets more comfortable in the offense.”

Barnett’s University of Texas-bound teammates have teased him about the difference in talent between the Big 12’s South and North divisions.

“They are saying the North is weak,” Barnett said. “We’ll have to show ‘em.”

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Iowa State’s expected list of signees Wednesday

Jared Barnett, QB, 6-1, 190, Garland H.S., Garland, Texas

Adrian Bennett, DB, 6-2, 205, Klein Forest H.S., Houston, Texas

*Jon Caspers, OL, 6-5, 295, ND State College of Science, Wahpeton, N.D.

Shaban Dika, OL, 6-5, 295, Warren H.S., San Antonio, Texas

Tom Farnioik, OL, 6-3, 260, Washington H.S., Sioux Falls, S.D.

Jacob Gannon, OL, 6-6, 255, West H.S., Iowa City

Albert Gary, WR, 5-9, 195, Butler County CC, El Dorado, Kan.

Jeremiah George, LB, 5-10, 191, Clearwater H.S., Clearwater, Fla.

Durrell Givens, DB, 6-0, 195, Chaffey CC, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.

Bob Graham, OL, 6-5, 280, Jenks H.S., Jenks, Okla.

Duran Hollis, RB, 6-1, 180, Polytechnic H.S., Fort Worth, Texas

*Ricky Howard, TE, 6-5, 255, Chaffey CC, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.

Cqulin Hubert, LB, 6-1, 217, Eisenhower H.S., Houston, Texas

Brandon Jense, DT, 6-5, 260, Ankeny H.S., Ankeny

Shontrelle Johnson, RB, 5-10, 180, Deland H.S., Deland, Fla.

Nick Kron, DE, 6-2, 245, Valley H.S., West Des Moines

Ben Loth, OL, 6-5, 275, Crespi H.S., Encino, Calif.

Floyd Mattison, LB,  6-0, 190, Morton Ranch H.S., Katy, Texas

T.J. McCullough, ATH, 6-2, 180, North Marion H.S., Citra, Fla.

Clifford Morgan, DB, 6-2, 195, Frostproof H.S., Frostproof, Fla.

*Rony Nelson, DE, 6-2, 250, Yuba CC, Marysville, Calif.

Pierce Richardson, TE, 6-4, 230, Crespi H.S., Encino, Calif.

Matt Thomas, DB, 5-10, 175, Lancaster H.S., Lancaster, Texas

Kirby Van Der Kamp, K, 6-4, 180, Valley H.S., West Des Moines

Jarvis West, WR, 5-7, 165, Gibbs H.S., St. Petersburg, Fla.

*Anthony Young, DB, 5-9, 180, Palomar CC, Ontario, Calif.

Chris Young, WR, 5-11, 185, Trinity Valley CC, Athens, Texas

*already have signed letters of intent and are enrolled at ISU

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Will we see Jerome Tiller on opening night?

September 1, 2009

Will Paul Rhoads take a cue from one of his former Big East Conference coaching rivals Thursday night during Iowa State’s season opener against North Dakota State?

Rhoads said this week he and his coaches are considering a similar approach to that of Boston College’s Tom O’Brien, who apparently used to put his backup quarterback in the game on the first series of the second quarter.

“That way that player always had snaps and he was always game-ready,” Rhoads said.

He also said starter Austen Arnaud and second-team quarterback Jerome Tiller could be on the field at the same time.

Tiller, a redshirt freshman from San Antonio, showed during ISU’s spring game he has all-around ability. It would be a shame to chain him to the sidelines.

Rhoads wasn’t giving away anything.

“It’s something we’ve talked about, but I have not set a detailed plan yet” he said.

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 As for the running back spot, starter Alexander Robinson and backup Jeremiah Schwartz will play.

After that, it’ll depend on how the game unfolds.

Schwartz, a 5-11, 232-pounder from Orlando, Fla., has leapfrogged Bo Williams as the second-team tailback. Williams was slowed a bit by an ankle sprain, but that wasn’t the reason for the switch from the pre-camp depth chart.

“It’s what Jeremiah Shcwar has done from an accountability and production standpoint,” Rhoads said. “He had a great second half of camp.”

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Add Beau Blankenship to the list of newcomers who coaches plan on playing this year.

The freshman running back from Norman, Okla., will play on special teams and could carry the ball if the score dictates.

He joins defensive back Jeremy Reeves, receiver Josh Lenz and linebackers A.J. Klein and Jake Knott as the true freshmen who — as of now — will see action this season.

Iowa State football media day tidbits

August 6, 2009

Don’t be shocked to see Iowa State redshirt freshman quarterback Jerome Tiller play some this season.

Austen Arnaud is No. 1 on the depth chart and the expected opening-night starter — as he should be — but Tiller is a great athlete with a big arm and quick legs. Coach Paul Rhoads surely would like to find some way to use him.

Rhoads said the 6-4, 200-pound Tiller was one of the team’s most improved players during spring practice, and it showed during an impressive spring game performance.

“If he continues to do that there may be a selective role (for Tiller), but I don’t know what that is at this point,” Rhoads said Wednesday duirng the team’s media day.

Remember, Arnaud played a series or two as a redshirt freshman in 2007 when Bret Meyer was a senior, helping prep him for the following year when the starting job was open.

I don’t forsee that same scenario playing out, but you never know.

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West Virginia coach Bill Stewart expressed his extreme disappointment (UH, NOT) with Wally Burnham’s re-location to the Big 12 as ISU’s defensive coordinator.

Burnham’s South Florida teams neutralized the Mountaineers’ spread offense, something Rhoads hopes carries over to his time in Ames. WVU averaged just 12.7 points and 153 yards rushing against the Bulls the last three seasons compared with 36 and 284 against everyone else during that time.

“Wally’s been a great friend, I’m a big admirer of him,” Stewart told the Tampa Tribune. “But I’m glad he’s out west.”

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Rhoads said preseason practice would be “extremely physical” despite what he said would be a lack of full-out contact and tackling.

The Cyclones begin drills Thursday and have their first padded practice Saturday. The first scrimmage is Aug. 15

The two-deep lineup he has drawn up right now is etched in pencil. There will be a lot of movement between now and the week of the season opener on Sept. 3. 

“The depth chart will fluctuate day to day,” he said.

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No one can accuse Arnaud of shying away from the pressure of being the face of the program.

A lot is expected from the hometown kid who is one of the team’s leaders as a junior. 

“I love it. That’s why you play quarterback,” he said. “When we lose it’s my fault, when we win I get the glory. That’s just how it is.”

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Players I’m excited to see in action, and you should be too:

-Bo Williams. This guy looks like Ricky Williams reincarnated. Hopefully he plays even a little bit like him.

-Leonard Johnson. Keep that same relentless, bad-ass attitude,  just not when the ballcarrier is six yards deep in the end zone.

-Marquis Hamilton. It’s time for “big body” to do work. Or at least more work than he’s did last year.

-Matt Taufoou. He’s short and stocky and says he’s pretty comfortable in pass coverage.  Let’s hope so. 

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One more difference between Rhoads and predecessor Gene Chizik — Rhoads is making himself available for interviews following each day of preseason practice.

Chizik would talk with reporters after scrimmages and maybe one other day a week while making his assistant coaches available on a rotating basis.

The access to coaches and players — with Rhoads or Chizik — still tops Iowa’s, which makes coach Kirk Ferentz and selected players available only a few times before the opener and once a week during the season.

Thoughts/observations/predictions out of ISU’s spring game

April 20, 2009

What I think I saw at Saturday’s spring game and what it means for the future of Iowa State football team this coming season:

— Austen Arnaud has had a rough go at spring games. He recovered to post some decent numbers, but had two interceptions, a third that was nullified by a sack, and had a hard time converting on third down. Arnaud was 7 of 21 last year with 3 INTs.

— To be fair, receivers dropped more than a few of what looked like catchable balls.

— The quarterback showed who is likely to be his top target this season. Sophomore Sedrick Johnson caught nine balls for 100 yards and at 6-4, 200 pounds will be a you-know-what in the red zone on the fade route.

— Backup quarterback Jerome Tiller may not be starting material right now, but if he can look that good from here on out, ISU coaches will have some tough decisions to make.   

— Junior college transfer David Sims spent a lot of time with the first-team defense. He apparently is one of the fastest players on the team and, barring some unforeseen developments, should claim a starting spot at safety.

— It’s anyone’s guess where offensive lineman Ben Lamaak will line up this season. Lamaak played left tackle Saturday, but could be at guard or center just as easily depending on the lineup around him. 

— I don’t think Coach Paul Rhoads is placating his tailback trio when he says all of them will play this season. They all can play and should play with the variety of situational skills each possess.

— Looking for a dark horse to contribute next year? Redshirt freshman WR Lonzie Range could be your man.

— Wallace Franklin? Uhh, didn’t know you were still on the team.

— Don’t go to the concession stand or loaf it to fridge when the offense is on the field. Possessions will be quick with the new up-tempo spread offense. Huddles are nowhere to be found and those not being signaled plays from the sideline are wearing wrist bands describing the play calls.

— Over/under on delay of game penalties this season: Three

Is there really a competition to be ISU’s QB?

April 4, 2009

Iowa State went 2-10 a year ago, a mark that shouldn’t give any player much confidence that his spot atop the depth chart is safe.

Does that include the “franchise” quarterback who started every game as a sophomore, threw for 2,792 yards, set a school record for completions (247), and is the face of the program in his own hometown?

Paul Rhoads says so, though not very convincingly.

Iowa State’s new head coach said this week that talented redshirt freshman Jerome Tiller is doing his best to push incumbent Austen Arnaud for the right to be the No. 1 quarterback.  Tiller, a highly-touted recruit from San Antonio, turned heads last season on the scout team with his big arm and athletic ability.

That said, it’s hard to imagine him beating out Arnaud, no matter how open things appear as ISU implements a new offensive system.

Nice try Paul.

Here’s his response to the question of Tiller’s chances of catching and passing Arnaud on the depth chart:

“Every position is always open. The minute a player starts to get overconfident or rest with where he’s at and not look to improve, somebody’s always going to come up… Jerome is an extremely bright and football intelligent young man and he shows that every day on the practice field and every day in the meeting room. Jerome is not taking a backseat. He’s not (saying), ‘OK, it’s yours, I’ll just be the understudy and see what I can do back here.’ He’s fighting and competing every day to be the guy.”

Arnaud’s got the game and the belief from his teammates that he’s the one that should be under center.

Good luck Jerome. You’re No. 2, but you might as well be fourth-string.

“He’s got to develop his throwing accuracy. He’s got to develop his throwing motion. He’s got to master the offense and take advantage of his athletic skills and do things in the open field,” Rhoads said. “He’s working to do that and working to compete with Austen every day.”