Spring battle spotlight: Iowa State safeties

The Cyclones face the challenge of rebuilding the bulk of their back seven, especially safety.

Departed: Jacques Washington and Deon Broomfield were veteran stalwarts at the back of the Iowa State defense. Broomfield compiled 18 career starts and was a key part of the Iowa State defense the last three seasons. Washington was a three-year starter, and earned second-team All-Big 12 honors last season.

Spring contenders: Junior Devron Moore, junior Darian Cotton, sophomore T.J. Mutcherson, redshirt freshman Kamari Cotton-Moya, redshirt freshman Kamari Syrie.

Summer contenders: Junior Qujuan Floyd and freshmen Victor Holmes and Reggan Northrup.

The skinny: The Cyclones signed two junior college safeties, who might be the favorites to take over the two starting spots. Moore was the No. 6 safety in the country and was hotly pursued by Big 12 rivals TCU, Texas Tech and West Virginia. Already enrolled at school and ready to take part in spring drills, Moore could lock up a starting role this spring.

Floyd, who picked the Cyclones over Utah, is Iowa State’s other junior college signee. Floyd, however, is not scheduled to arrive until the summer, which could give Mutcherson a chance to give a shining first impression to first-year secondary coach Maurice Linguist. Mutcherson has the athletic ability to do it.

Cotton-Moya could have been the only other true freshman to play last season alongside cornerback Nigel Tribune, but he ruptured his Achilles during the preseason and is still working his way back. Syrie might not have the size to play safety, and Cotton has been a career backup and special teams player. It would be a surprise if Northrup and Holmes, both three-star recruits, came in and started right away, but both could add depth.

Prediction: The two juco transfers will lock down the starting jobs, but Mutcherson will help in spots and Cotton-Moya, when he heals, will give the Cyclones a second solid backup to round out the rotation.