Cyclones' top back ready to return

DALLAS -- Shontrelle Johnson was the most dangerous man in Iowa State's backfield, but he couldn't do much from the sidelines after suffering a neck injury against Texas last season.

After a recovery full of question marks, though, Cyclones coach Paul Rhoads opened his time at Big 12 Media Days by announcing with a smile that Johnson would be back for fall camp when the Cyclones begin on August 3. He finished last season with 247 yards on 51 carries.

"There were doubts until he went through a set of x-rays this summer that had to be looked at by his surgeon, and the fusion that took place that was fully healed, fully fused," Rhoads said, "and that he gave his blessing that he could play."

The injury was serious enough, however, that Johnson had to talk it over with his family whether or not he even planned to return. Within the past week, he gave Rhoads the official nod.

"Now we'll plug him back in," Rhoads said. "Certainly, he'll have to work his way back up the depth chart. He's been out for a while. But we look forward to him doing that. Now, my biggest concern, as he begins that process, is he does it with his head up and fundamentally does all the things to protect himself as he moves forward."