Allen Lazard could've played college football at Notre Dame, Oregon or Stanford, programs that had recently competed for national championships. He picked Iowa State, who had recently competed for Pinstripe and Liberty Bowl trophies.
Lazard was a four-star recruit from Urbandale, Iowa, in the 2012 class. He was the 11th-ranked receiver in the country and No. 83 overall prospect and carried a truckload of offers from big-time Power Five programs. Lazard entertained some of those opportunites and even visited Notre Dame twice.
But instead of signing with the Irish, he opted for the middling Big 12 program 45 minutes up the road, Iowa State.
“I used to be on the [Jack Trice Stadium] hillside playing tackle football and all of that stuff. I’ve always wanted to play there,” Lazard said in February 2013, two weeks after signing his letter of intent. “It has been since I was a little kid. Ever since I was five or so, I have been going to Iowa State football games with my family.”
He was — and remains — the highest-rated recruit to ever sign with the Cyclones and entered the season with a bunch of program records while approaching several others.
“When he is talking, everybody is listening,” said Lazard of then-head coach Paul Rhoads, citing Rhoads as a big reason he picked Iowa State. “It is his intensity and his desire to never give up on you no matter what. If it is how you are doing individually or the team, he wants to push you to be the best player and the best person that you can be.”
Rhoads was fired after Lazard's junior season (2015) and replaced with Matt Campbell, who during his assistant stops at Mount Union, Bowling Green and Toledo — and four years as Rockets' head coach — couldn't have sniffed the recruitment of a four-star player in his wildest dreams. And although he was taking over a program that hadn't won more than three games since 2012, he had some big-time talent in Allen Lazard.
And on Saturday vs. Oklahoma, that big-time talent delivered. Lazard only had three receptions for 69 yards against the Sooners but his go-ahead 25-yard touchdown catch with two minutes remaining will be one of the biggest and most remembered plays in program history.
— Jack McGuire (@JackMacCFB) October 7, 2017