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Matt Campbell took his first step toward winning over Iowa State fans by bringing in a recruiting class that appears to be among the program's best in recent memory


AMES, Iowa — took his first step toward winning over Iowa State fans Wednesday, bringing in a recruiting class that appears to be among the program's best in recent memory.

The Cyclones signed 36 players, including a handful of junior college newcomers who could push for starting jobs by August. Iowa State's class of 2016 was even rated among the top 50 nationally by some recruiting publications, a rarity for a school with an historic lack of success.

Experienced newcomers such as defensive backs D'Andre Payne and Thadd Daniels were augmented with the likes of incoming freshmen Sean Foster — the rare consensus four-star recruit to commit to Iowa State out of high school — and 6-foot-6 tight end Chase Allen.

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Top 25 Class: No.

Best in class: DB D'Andre Payne. He played as a freshman at Tennessee after turning down offers from Michigan, Ohio State, Clemson and others coming out of high school. Payne spent a year at Arizona Western focused on academics before landing at Iowa State, where he is expected to make an immediate impact.

Best of the rest: At 6-foot-8 and 285 pounds, Sean Foster has the pedigree to become Iowa State's future left tackle. Eyioma Uwazurike has potential as a defensive end, and quarterback Jacob Park is a former Georgia Bulldog who at the very least gives the Cyclones a backup to incumbent .

Late addition: Twin defensive linemen Jaquan and Joshua Baily, both 6-foot-3 from Jacksonville, Florida. Iowa State always seems to be in need of line help, and getting two three-star recruits from Florida on signing day was considered a coup.

One that got away: John Raridon, a tackle from nearby West Des Moines, Iowa, chose Nebraska over the Cyclones and the Hawkeyes.

How they'll fit in: Campbell signed players from nearly 20 states, a sign that he intends to have a national footprint in recruiting. His offensive philosophy will be more run-focused that former coach , and no one is quite sure how the Cyclones will attack defensively. But Campbell now has some fresh talent to bolster a veteran group.

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