On Signing Day last year, Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads took to the podium in Ames and chastised Iowa and Notre Dame for pursuing four-star wide receiver recruit Allen Lazard after he'd committed to the Cyclones.
"He's not going to a school in northern Indiana," Rhoads said of Lazard, a high school all-American. "Boy, they wasted a lot of time and money. He's not going to another school in this state, who feverishly tried to call him about a half a dozen times in the last week."
If Rhoads was that angry about Iowa attempting to steal an Iowa State commit, imagine what he's going to be like now that Iowa flipped one.
The Hawkeyes landed the commitment of three-star Waukee defensive end Anthony Nelson Monday, making him the 17th member of Iowa's Class of 2015. Nelson had previously committed to Iowa State in June, and also held offers from Eastern Michigan (whose coach was previously at Drake and knows the Des Moines area well) and a handful of FCS programs.
Nelson is ranked as the sixth-best player coming out of Iowa this season and was an Iowa Class 4A all-state defender last year. He is already 6'7 and weighs in at 215 pounds, a bit light to contribute immediately but a solid frame to work with.
Nelson's commitment does a few things for Iowa. It fills the final defensive end spot; Iowa was looking for two ends, and now has Nelson and Brady Reiff. It solidifies Iowa's hold on the state, with six of the consensus top seven players in the state currently committed to the Hawkeyes, and its relationship with the state's fastest-growing school district, which has provided a player to Iowa's last two classes.
Perhaps most importantly, it stops the bleeding from the Taxslayer Bowl debacle, even if only temporarily. Nelson's commitment is a sign that, while the rest of the world is questioning their futures, Iowa's coaches are out working. Rumors in recent days had Iowa trying to keep its current class from flying apart. Instead, it's getting bigger. That's a good sign.