Thanks to the recruiting efforts of defensive graduate assistant Derek Day, Iowa State is continuing to mine what is traditionally Big 10 territory for talented recruits. The latest addition is the Cyclones' first for the Class of 2015, an inside linebacker from the Chicagoland area.
Naperville (Ill.) Central's Bobby McMillen chose I-State during a Junior Day visit. Although the 6-foot-2, 220-pounder came into the weekend not planning to commit, his mind was made up after seeing the place for himself.
"We took a tour of the facilities and everything was fantastic," said McMillen, who chose the Cyclones over an offer from Central Michigan. "The indoor facility, weight room and athletic training center were ridiculous. I told my mom that I couldn't wait for this. I talked to all the coaches and they kept saying what a great player I was and everything like that. This was where I wanted to play football, so my mom told me to call my dad. I told him I wanted to commit and he said he supported me 100 percent."
With his decision made, McMillen talked to ISU coaches over lunch on Saturday and caught one of them completely off guard.
"I pulled Coach Rhoads, Coach Day and Coach (Wally) Burnham aside and told them I wanted to be a Cyclone," McMillen said. "Coach Day was shocked at first. I had been in contact with him since the beginning of my sophomore year, so we have a close relationship and talk almost every day. Coach Rhoads and Coach Burnham were also excited. It was a breathtaking experience for me and my mom."
One of the storylines surrounding Allen Lazard, the first commitment for this year's class, had to do with him embracing his role recruiting other future Cyclones. McMillen is already up and running where that's concerned, working on another wide receiver in the area Flynn Nagel.
"I need to be a recruit and second recruiter behind all the coaches," McMillen said. "A lot of the kids like to talk to other recruits about why they committed. I need to be that guy to tell other recruits about what we're building here and that they need to be a part of it.
"I know Flynn really well and we come from the same area. I'm definitely working on him to come to Iowa State. I talked to him when he was there and he said it was awesome. But he wants to take the process slow and I respect that. But at the same time, you want to influence him a little bit and get him there on some visits. Hopefully he will make a commitment sooner or later."
One of the next visits, at least for McMillen, is a trip to central Iowa to meet his father, Bob Sr., who is the head coach of the Los Angeles Kiss of the Arena Football League. The first-year Kiss will be in Des Moines to face the Barnstormers on April 19th. Prior to the game, father and son will make the drive to Ames for an unofficial visit.
The eldest McMillen, who played 13 years in the AFL, coached the Chicago Rush the past three seasons and was named the AFL's top coach in 2013 for a franchise which later folded due to ownership issues.