Iowa State football recruit Hunter Deyo relishes last bit of high school before Cyclone career begins
Iowa State football fans saw the new-look Cyclones at two open practices this spring, and on full display were the newest crop of recruits in Ames.
That meant a chance to see how early enrollees like Greg Gaines, Will McLaughlin, Jacob Imming and Cartevious Norton were adjusting to the Iowa State system, and if any of them had a shot at playing considerable snaps in 2022.
Notably missing from that group, though, was four-star defensive lineman Hunter Deyo, the highest-rated recruit to choose the Cyclones over Iowa in the Matt Campbell era. In fact, the last time football fans saw Deyo on the gridiron, he was helping Lewis Central win the Class 3A state championship.
While his future teammates got a head start on Iowa State’s campus, Deyo actually put football on hold. Well, sort of.
“Right after football season, I took about a week break, just to let my body recover,” Deyo told the Des Moines Register.
Don't fret, Cyclones fans. Deyo is getting ready to play, even if not on campus.
He might not be in Ames practicing with the Cyclones, but Iowa State did send Deyo a book of workouts to keep him conditioned in the offseason. There was also another sport — track and field — on his mind heading into the spring. It’s the reason that Deyo didn’t enroll early.
“I just wanted to do track,” Deyo said. “It’s my senior year, why not? I really love track and it’s just fun. Like if you throw bad, oh well, you have the next day. No one really puts a lot of pressure on you. It’s just a relaxing sport.”
Yeah, you heard that right. The 6-foot-3, 270-pound lineman finds throwing weighted discs and shot puts … relaxing. That does make sense when you’re a top-300 football player nationally and about to fill big shoes at a Division I program.
So, sure, Deyo decided to pursue another sport instead of enrolling early. But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been busy preparing to join his Iowa State teammates this summer. He might actually have a busier schedule than the athletes up in Ames.
Deyo acknowledges that track doesn’t take up too much of his time, except when he has a meet, which takes up most of the day. But he lifts Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and if he’s scheduled to run on a day that conflicts with track, he’ll shift the training to the weekend. Not to mention, he’s still on a regular high school class schedule.
He wouldn’t have it any other way, though. Deyo will get to graduate alongside his classmates. He’ll also get to finish his high school track career, with hopes of placing in shot put and discus alongside other top football recruits at the state track meet. He’ll have tough competition in LeMars’ Brandon VanderSluis, who is headed to South Dakota this summer.
“I just want to place in shot and disc,” Deyo said. “I would say win it, but there’s a guy that throws 63 (feet) in shot. So, just place second in shot, first in disc if I can. It’s my senior year, I’m ready to just have fun at state, really.”
When asked if he regrets not enrolling early, Deyo is quick to respond no. He knows he’s missing out on early practices and getting reps in with the rest of the squad. But Deyo also knows that by keeping up with his conditioning and trusting in who he is as a player, he’ll be prepared when he arrives in Ames this summer.
With just weeks until he’ll move to Ames, Deyo is realistic about what to expect going into his first season of college football.
“I know that I’m gonna be the low man on the totem pole,” Deyo said. “Who cares what you did in high school and all that? You still have to earn your name here. I’ll catch up (to the early enrollees), and then do my part to get to where I need to be and where I should be.”
And as for whether he’s ready to get back on the football field after months focused on track and field, that’s not even a question for Deyo.
“Oh yeah. I miss it, I miss it a lot. I’m excited to get back out there. Iowa State fans should be ready. Be ready for what we’re gonna do this upcoming season. It’s gonna be a show.”
Alyssa Hertel is a college sports recruiting reporter for the Des Moines Register. Contact Alyssa at email@example.com or on Twitter @AlyssaHertel.