HERO Sports is counting down the days until the kickoff of the 2018 college football season on Saturday, Aug. 25, by featuring the best player in the FBS at each jersey number, from 99-1. Each day, from May 18 through Aug. 24, we'll publish one article showcasing the best player whose jersey number matches the number of days remaining.
No. 32 David Montgomery
Iowa State – RB
Iowa State won 11 games over the previous four seasons and hadn't won eight games since 1978 or been ranked since 2005. What happened in 2018, when they won eight games, beat Oklahoma on the road and flirted with Big 12 title contention?
David Montgomery happened.
"That kid is the reason why this program changed," Cyclones' third-year head coach Matt Campbell said in June.
Montgomery arrived in Ames in 2016 like most Iowa State players do: three-star recruit ranked outside the top 1,000 players in the class who carried only a few other FBS offers. After a strong true freshman season (team-high 563 yards, 5.3 yards per carry), the 5-foot-11, 219-pounder from Cincinnati exploded onto the national scene in leading the Cyclones to one of the best seasons in program history. He had six 100-yard games on his way to 1,146 rushing yards and an All-Big 12 First-Team selection. He also shattered Dalvin Cook's missed-tackles record (89), forcing a staggering 109 missed tackles in 13 games.
Montgomery took the handoff from Kyle Kempt and headed toward the right side of the line. It was congested, so the Iowa State running back planted his right foot and reversed course, back inside the hash marks.
Oklahoma State defensive end Jarrell Owens gave chase but was quickly eliminated when Montgomery's speed and stiff arm sent the off-balance Owens into the turf.
Montgomery hit the open field, flying past the near hash mark and toward Cowboys' safety Ramon Richards. As Montgomery was shaking off Richards, linebacker Justin Phillips leaped onto his back but slid off.