It didn't take very long for Whitefish Bay (WI) punter Colin Downing to make up his mind after the Cyclones offered Friday morning. A few hours later, he called head coach Paul Rhoads and told him he wanted to commit.
"I've been in contact with them for a long time now and I knew once they offered me I'd commit," Downing, who also had an offer from Toledo, said Saturday morning.
Downing hopes he'll crack the starting lineup with similar expediency. The Cyclones will lose All-Big 12 punter Kirby Van Der Kamp after this season and no current roster member is an obvious replacement. Rhoads in recent years has redshirted recruiting classes in waves, but that likely won't apply to Downing.
"I'm anticipating starting my freshman year," Downing said. "You never know what happens through the offseason but Coach Rhoads said he needed to find a replacement.
"Any Iowa State fan knows how well Kirby has done in his career. They needed to find someone to come in, replace him and do what he's done. Coach Rhoads believes I can do that and I believe I can, too."
Kohl's Kicking Camps, operated by former ISU specialist Jamie Kohl, has Downing the No. 9 punter nationally.
"[Colin's] leg strength has improved dramatically the last 12 months," Kohl said Saturday in an email. "His hang-times and distances started reaching the BCS level this past spring when he had an outstanding Midwest Showcase camp. This is the same camp Kirby Van Der Kamp came to and opened up our eyes when he was in high school. Kirby is a longer, bigger athlete than Colin but Colin is technically ahead of Kirby at the same age in high school. Colin is a top 10 punter nationally and Paul Rhoads did an outstanding job of doing his research when deciding to pull the trigger and offer Colin. I feel Colin is two-three years ahead of his age from a mental maturity and technique standpoint."
Downing's hang-time is currently in the 4.3-4.5 seconds range, numbers he knows he needs to improve upon.
"I've been told I had the best fundamentals in the [2014 class], but hangtime and exploding through the ball is something to work on," Downing said. "I'd love to get up to the 4.8, 5 range. That's NFL, so during my career I'd love to get there."
Downing has visited Ames several times for camps and a tours visit. He's not sure if his schedule will allow him to take an official visit during a game week, but he's hopeful.
"I've seen everything — it's a beautiful camps and the [facilities] are unreal — but I want to get to a game," he said. "I've watched both games on TV. The Iowa game looked unreal. That excites me, the fact they can pack Jack Trice."