Spring practice began last week in the Big 12. Soon, the entire league will be on the practice field. As workouts open, we’re looking ahead to the fall by selecting the newcomer on each Big 12 roster who is most likely to create excitement when he gets to work. This is not necessarily the best recruit or transfer or the most impactful, but the guy who demands your attention when he’s on the field.
Up next is Iowa State.
Most exciting newcomer: DE Matt Leo
The Cyclones added Matthew Eaton, an elite wide receiver out of junior college, and look forward to the arrival of former top offensive line prospect David Dawson as a graduate transfer from Michigan.
Neither can compete, though, with the emerging legend of Matt Leo, a massive Australian who got to campus in February after finishing course work at Arizona Western College. Leo, who studied to work as a plumber before he discovered football, did not play the game until 2015. As a result, his room for growth appears significant after he recorded 3.5 sacks in 2016 as a sophomore, earning scholarship offers from Oklahoma, Mississippi State and others.
Ranked as the 43rd-best juco prospect in the Class of 2017, Leo stands 6-foot-7 and weighs 265 pounds.
He’s “an incredible story,” Iowa State coach Matt Campbell told the Des Moines Register.
There’s so much more to learn about Leo. Did he wrestle kangaroos as a child or own a pet wombat? He did, in fact, play plenty of rugby and figures this spring to compete for immediate playing time opposite JaQuan Bailey on the defensive line.
No doubt, the Cyclones are excited about their new Aussie talent.
It's great to have Lou Ferrigno join our team. Hold on, being told this is Matt Leo. pic.twitter.com/Qlf7dJ2T0q
— Mike Green (@Beener1435) February 24, 2017
Bring on the Big 12 competition.