Ozigbo Would Be ISU's One and Only

Ozigbo Would Be ISU's One and Only

Three-star running back Devine Ozigbo talks about his decision and the Cyclones' chances — as well as the promise he'd be their only running back in 2015

T-minus two weeks for Sachse (TX) running back Devine Ozigbo to make the decision on where he'll be playing college football in 2015 and, though Ozigbo is keeping secret his bundle of top schools, Iowa State is looking like a favorite.

Ozigbo, who ran for 947 yards and 13 touchdowns as a junior, is the No. 84 running back in the 2015 class. His offer sheet is indicative of a higher ranking — Iowa, Boise State, Kansas State, Miami (FL), Minnesota, Mississippi State and Wisconsin are among the 20-something schools who're in the hunt.

The Cyclones offered very late in the process and were admittedly an afterthought until Ozigbo got to Ames in late June — the trip to ISU was even an afterthought; Ozigbo went to Iowa first.

A positive experience there, a strong relationship with running backs coach Louis Ayeni and a promise have vaulted ISU to near pole position.

"They said if I was to commit, they're gonna stop recruiting running backs," Ozigbo told AllCyclones.com on Wednesday. "They told me I'm their No. 1 choice. They're trying to prolong it and see what happens and if I don't go to them they'll look somewhere else but if I do they'll shut down their running back recruiting.

"They're not the only one's who've said that, but I do appreciate it."

ISU has offers out to other running backs, including Butler (KS) JUCO Chris Carson, who has a scheduled official visit Aug. 30.

The allure of a JUCO player like Carson is the ability to play early. Freshmen almost always redshirt for ISU. Ozigbo might be different, his sculpted 5-foot-11, 230-pound body setting him apart from any other back on ISU's roster.

"Nothing's gonna be given to me," Ozigbo said. "But if I come and work as hard as I know I can, I can play as soon as I get on campus."

The Cyclones offered well into the evaluation period, though they had their eye on Ozigbo from the get-go.

As he did in 2014 when he was sent to Texas to help save the class, new backs coach Louis Ayeni has been crucial in making up ground.

"He's helped, especially with my parents," Ozigbo said. "Him being Nigerian, my parents being of Nigerian descent, they've latched onto that. They want somebody who knows how Nigerian kids are raised. It's big for him to be that guy when I'm down there."

The Hawkeyes are in the mix, too.

"Iowa's good," Ozigbo said. "When I went up there I really enjoyed it. Lots of great history and stuff like that."

If the Cyclones beat out the Hawkeyes for Ozigbo, the latter will have reason to feel burnt: If it weren't for Iowa, Ozigbo wouldn't have visited Iowa State.

"Honestly, when I went up there, I went up to Iowa basically just to see Iowa," he said. "And I thought, I'm gonna be in the state, might as well see both schools that have offered me. It wasn't originally my intention at all. They were an afterthought until I saw the facilities and met the coaches. I had no idea."

Ozigbo and his parents were struck by the contrast between the two schools.

"ISU is completely different than the University of Iowa, completely different," he said. "Iowa's very city-like, the campus is within the city. Iowa State is more of a Texas feel, it's got open spaces, grass, old-school college buildings and things like that. I like it."

Ozigbo will announce his collegiate decision July 22 via Twitter after informing the winning and losing schools.

"I have a few days here and I'll start to hit it really hard, look into it and talk to my coaches," Ozigbo said. "I have to take my time, decide where I need to be."

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