Iowa State bested a former conference foe for its most recent verbal commitment in the Class of 2013. Ankeny (Iowa) athlete Joel Lanning made the call to Cyclone head coach Paul Rhoads on Sunday night, but he's known for some time what he was going to do.
Lanning, a 6-foot-2, 200-pounder, accepted Iowa State's scholarship over an offer from Nebraska. He said he called and talked to Rhoads at about 8:15 Sunday night. A short time later he talked to CycloneReport.com and shared more about his decision.
"I've kind of known for a while what I wanted to do," Lanning said. "Two or three weeks probably. I told my parents this week and I told my brother. I waited a little while to see how everything would play out, just wanted to give it some time after baseball got over. I knew I wanted to do it before my senior year of football really got going."
Lanning, who was part of Ankeny's Class 4-A state championship baseball season that just ended a couple of weeks ago, said people won out over facilities when it came down to Iowa State vs. Nebraska.
"A lot of guys look at facilities and when you go to Nebraska the facilities are just stunning," said Lanning. "It's like you want to go there when you see it. But I just felt better with the Iowa State coaches, Coach Rhoads and my recruiting coach, Shane Burnham. Iowa State is improving its facilities so they are very nice, too.
"I have felt good about it for a while and so I called Coach Rhoads tonight and talked to him for a while and then said I wanted to accepted his scholarship offer," he added. "He was pretty excited about it. I talked to Coach Burnham and the offensive coordinator Coach Messingham, too."
A big question about Lanning throughout the recruiting process has been: what position will he play in college? Lanning answered that question tonight.
"They told me they want me as a quarterback and that's what I want to play," Lanning said. "But if doesn't work out and they want me to be a receiver or a running back or whatever, I'll be happy to play somewhere else."
Lanning, who plans to major in a business field of study, said the final football season of just one high school for Ankeny (Centennial High opens in 2013) could be a special one for the Ankeny Senior High Hawks.
"We have the talent to go all the way and we're working hard to do it," said Lanning. "It's tough, you've always got Dowling and Valley and Southeast Polk in the way and the schools from eastern Iowa like Bettendorf. But we could do it. It could be just like baseball. I knew we had the talent to do it but I never really thought about it until we got really close and it became real, we can do this."
Lanning said he and his Ankeny teammates didn't have much time to enjoy the baseball championship. With a week zero football opener coming up this Friday against Marshalltown, football practice started not long after the long baseball run to a title ended.
"There was an assembly at the school and then me and some friends went out with our parents, that was pretty much it," Lanning said. "I haven't thought about it much sense. Had to get going on football."
Last fall, Lanning led Ankeny to an 11-2 record as a junior quarterback. The Hawks advanced to the state semifinals where they lost to eventual champion West Des Moines Valley. Lanning completed 102-of-187 passes (54.5%) for 1733 yards with 18 touchdown passes and just three interceptions. He also rushed for 636 yards on 125 carries, averaging a little over five yards per rush.