A quick thought before tonight's Senior Day festivities get going.
A fresh perspective is needed to evaluate the kind of season Jeremiah George had, as he's been judged and compared to former Cyclones standouts Jake Knott and A.J. Klein this entire campaign.
In my first year covering Iowa State, I think I can offer that. It's pretty simple, actually:
Jeremiah George is a splendid, splendid linebacker.
Is he Knott? Is he Klein? I don't know. But take note of what George is doing, currently sitting fifth in the nation in tackles per game, and take a moment to appreciate that before you flush this season down the toilet. George's last season at Iowa State has been a miserable one — the Cyclones are 1-9 — and his last game at Jack Trice will be played in miserable conditions.
The past two seasons, I covered the Texas Longhorns, a football team that would have given anything for a linebacker of George's caliber. Even when healthy, former five-star Jordan Hicks was never too productive, and you could tell how much the Longhorns were hurting for a serviceable linebacker when Damien Williams housed a 95-yard touchdown run, or when James Sims rushed for 176 yards, or when Joseph Randle carried 69 yards for a touchdown on the second play from scrimmage.
Has Iowa State's defense been bad this year? Yes. Was the Oklahoma game especially ugly? Yes. It featured several embarrassing plays, the Sooners scoring three times on carries of 55 yards or more.
I've watched film of every Iowa State game this season, and you can count on one hand the number of bad plays George has had. He loafed on a long Lache Seastrunk run against Baylor, and he flashed his blitz too early last week against Oklahoma, resulting in a long scoring run.
For the most part, he's been awesome, running all over the field and in on seemingly every tackle, despite a defensive line that doesn't shield him from downfield blockers and without a fellow impact linebacker.
George has two games left for Iowa State. The 2013 season will be instantly forgettable, but Cyclones fans will hopefully remember how good George has been during this campaign of futility.
George's tackles by the week
Texas Tech: 11.
Oklahoma State: 12.
Kansas State: 12.