Cyclone recruiting mailbag: Where does Iowa State stand with Xavier Foster? Which 2019 target might commit first?

Matthew Bain
The Des Moines Register

Busy mailbag this week. Let's get to it.

Xavier Foster of Oskaloosa dunks the ball during the 3A semifinal game against Waverly Shell Rock at Wells Fargo Arena Thursday, March 8, 2018.

So how well do you think Iowa State sits with Xavier Foster (and) Jalen Suggs? — @jrobbs2003_josh

With Jalen Suggs, we're talking about a kid that's likely going to be top five in the class. He's developed great early relationships with Iowa State, Iowa and Minnesota, and that certainly matters.

But I would be quite surprised if Suggs doesn't wind up at a blue blood like Duke, Kentucky or Kansas.

Xavier Foster, on the other hand, will wind up as a top-30 or top-20 guy. If he wasn't from Iowa, that'd still be a reach for the Cyclones. But because he's got home-state ties — and he lives a little over an hour from Ames — the five-star, 6-foot-11 power forward is a more likely target.

Foster isn't leaning any direction right now. Iowa State has clearly made him a top 2020 priority, though. A couple weeks ago, Foster told me that the three schools showing the most love were Iowa, Baylor and Iowa State.

But he's still reeling in new interest and offers by the week.

Last I heard from his AAU program director, Florida State, Oklahoma State, USC and UCLA were the latest schools showing strong interest. Foster also visited UCLA and USC after showing out at the loaded Pangos All-American Camp last week, and he picked up a Trojans offer along the way.

No offer yet from the Bruins. His dad told me it was a good visit, though. They got to meet the coaching staff and tour UCLA's campus — they were very impressed with Westwood.

So, to review, Foster now has offers from USC, Iowa State, Iowa, Illinois, Baylor, Creighton, Texas A&M and Missouri. He also holds a laundry list of interest from Kansas, Cal, UCLA, Florida State, Oklahoma State, Xavier, Michigan, Ohio State, Wisconsin and Virginia.

The interest is going to keep coming, too. I got to watch Foster a couple weekends ago at the Iowa Gym Rats Kings of the Court tournament. His smooth, high-release jumper has improved, as has his strength and handle. It's no surprise he was rated the No. 10 prospect (both 2019 and 2020 kids) at Pangos last weekend.

With all that said, I think both Iowa State and Iowa will be strong players for Foster until the very end.

Who is the Iowa State's first basketball commit for 2019? — @TheDudeofAmes

Four-star forward Tyler Wahl is scheduled to visit on Tuesday; he is Iowa State’s only scheduled visitor so far this summer. Of the known Iowa State targets at the moment, he'd be my answer. 

He's a late-blooming talent who just broke onto the high-major scene this spring, hauling in offers from Iowa State, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Butler and Northwestern.

Iowa State target Tyler Wahl (dunking) will take an unofficial visit to Ames on June 12.

Visits matter, whether they're official or unofficial (Wahl is taking an unofficial visit). There's clearly interest on Wahl's end, and the Cyclones love his length and play-making ability. Ideally, they'd land three guards and an athletic forward in this 2019 class. Wahl, who checks in at 6-foot-7 and 200 pounds, is certainly an athletic forward. 

He also plays his AAU ball alongside Minneapolis four-star point guard Tyrell Terry, who is a major Iowa State priority

What recruiting area strength would you recommend for Prohm filling the (Neill) Berry opening? Prep school, JuCo, Midwest, South? — @Lee0107_

I'd go with a current college assistant coach. This week, Steve Prohm confirmed to our Randy Peterson that Dayton assistant James Kane — who was an assistant for Prohm at Murray State — is a candidate.

That would make sense, given his tendency to hire people he has ties with. And that Prohm is openly confirming his candidacy says quite a bit. 

Hiring an assistant coach is a great opportunity to either bolster a current recruiting ground or add a new one. William Small is well-established in the South. Daniyal Robinson is well-liked in Chicago, and he has a strong recruiting presence from up in Minnesota and Michigan down to St. Louis.

Dayton assistant James Kane is among the candidates to replace Neill Berry at Iowa State

Neill Berry was Iowa State's main recruiter for Minnesota and New Jersey's Oak Hill Academy. Prohm could hire another guy with Minnesota ties, but I think Robinson has enough clout in the region to where the Cyclones don't necessarily need another Minnesota guy.

He could look to hire someone with ties to an elite prep school like Oak Hill.

But, I think Prohm will wind up hiring somebody he's comfortable with. And whatever recruiting strengths that coach possesses, Iowa State will get.

Kane has southern recruiting ties, like Prohm, thanks to his time at Murray State. But I think his more intriguing ties come thanks to his current job at Dayton. He'd bring to Ames a recruiting presence in the basketball-rich Cincinnati metro area. That would be a nice recruiting ground to add to the Cyclones' arsenal.

Which road trip would you take ... if you most wanted to see an ISU win? Can't be Kansas. — @TedFlintKansas

Hmmm ...  I'd pick West Virginia.

"Press Virginia" is just a lot of fun to watch. Morgantown is beautiful, and Indianapolis is an exact halfway point if you want to make it a two-day road trip.

Mount Rushmore of fictional College football players? — @TedFlintKansas

Heck yes, Ted. I love this question. I'm going to put a recruiting spin on this though. These are the five guys I'd recruit if I were a coach.

In no specific order ... 

Vince Howard, QB, "Friday Night Lights" (TV) — Michael B. Jordan's character could do anything and everything on the football field. This kid's got five stars written all over him.

Billy Bob, OG/DT, "Varsity Blues" — Once you get Bob in a proper weight-training program, look out. Feels like a two-star, under-the-radar pick-up that would win me some games. I'm going to have him play some defensive tackle, too. 

Tim Riggins, FB/LB, "Friday Night Lights" (TV) — If you're on a football field, you do not want to play opposite of Riggins. But I need him out there doing more than fullback. Hello, middle linebacker.

Stefen Djordjevic, CB, "All the Right Moves" — I need another defender. Djordjevic is going to give me consistent reps every Saturday. It also helps that he later became a Navy pilot and a world-class spy constantly accomplishing impossible missions.

Forrest Gump, return man, "Forrest Gump" — This is assuming Gump chooses to become a graduate transfer. Arguably the most dominant return man in the history of forever, Tom Hanks' legendary character is an instant game-changer.

Matthew Bain covers college football and basketball recruiting for the Des Moines Register. He also helps out with Iowa and Iowa State football and basketball coverage for HawkCentral and Cyclone Insider. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.