We're moving on with a new series today looking at the players across the Big 12 who have to replace program legends. We might as well call this the Nick Florence Memorial team, but let's talk Iowa State Cyclones.
Big shoes to fill: Iowa State's secondary
You know about the losses of A.J. Klein and Jake Knott, so we'll take a closer look at some other big shoes to fill for the Cyclones: The secondary. The defense is perennially underrated, and the guys at the back of the defense were consistently overshadowed by Klein and Knott. The biggest piece missing next season is safety Durrell Givens, but cornerback Jeremy Reeves is gone, too. Givens forced nine turnovers on his own last season, including six fumble recoveries, and Reeves capped his career with an interception for a touchdown in the Liberty Bowl. Jansen Watson, Deon Broomfield and Jacques Washington return, but if ISU is going to continue to give its inconsistent offense some additional breathing room, it must plug the holes in the secondary. I'd expect Broomfield to move over and assume a starting position, but filling the cornerback spot will be an interesting competition during the spring. Senior Cliff Stokes and sophomore Sam Richardson (the reason quarterback Sam B. Richardson has a middle initial on his jersey, and yes, that is amazing) were reserves a year ago and should get the first crack at the gig, but look for sophomore Kenneth Lynn to be in the mix, too. I don't expect a lot of growth from Iowa State's offense, and getting back to a bowl game will require the defense to grow up quickly. It can't do that without finding suitable fill-ins for Reeves and Givens.