The Cyclones kick off their year Aug. 30. To get you ready for the season, AllCyclones.com will be gauging the depth at every position on the roster. In this installment, we're looking at weakside linebacker.
Projected Starter: Jevohn Miller, Sr., Brooklyn
Projected Backup: Luke Knott, So., Lee's Summit (MO)
Other Players: Levi Peters, So., Gilmore City; Brian Mills, rFr., Clermont (FL); Willie Harvey, Fr., Hastings (FL); Sam Seonbuchner, Fr., Oconomowuc (WI)
The Leader: Jevohn Miller
It's hard to believe, the way the 2013 campaigns went for Miller and Knott, that it'll be Miller who starts at WLB for the Cyclones in their opener and Knott who's the backup. After all, it was that way last season, at least in the beginning. Knott outplayed Miller in the first game and took a starting spot for the Iowa game. He produced (45 tackles) until a hip injury cost him the final six games of the year. Miller stepped back into his role and struggle initially before finishing strong. He's carried that momentum over into the spring and summer, where he was a standout, while Knott underwent surgery and a touchy rehab — he's just now getting to 100 percent. If Knott plays well enough and Iowa State struggles at middle linebacker, it's possible Miller could slide over to the middle a few games in.
The Wildcard: Levi Peters
Iowa State's madman, Peters gained a lot of buzz for a particularly nasty tackle he made against Kansas State, showing off his wrestling skills, but is behind more polished players in Miller and Knott. Can he be more than a special teams demon for the Cyclone? That really depends on his play-recognition and pass-coverage abilities, which at this point are untested.
The Future: Willie Harvey
Knott's got plenty of eligibility left, so this is certainly looking ahead a ways, and we're in no way writing off Mills. Two of ISU's three prep 2014 linebacker signees, Harvey and Seonbuchner, profile at WLB, though Harvey might grow into a middle linebacker, dependent on how much weight he gains this offseason. Harvey was a late find but the reviews have been favorable for him in fall camp.
As mentioned, the Cyclones signed Harvey and Seonbuchner — who we like as well — last year. They have a commitment from 2015 player Bobby McMillen, a 6-foot prospect from Naperville Central (IL), who projects as a WLB.