Punter Kirby Van Der Kamp and linebacker Jeremiah George, a pair of All-Big 12 performers for the Cyclones in 2013, have seen their name pop up in a number of NFL mock drafts.
Van Der Kamp, a four-time All-Big 12 selection, has been in contact with many NFL teams for his outstanding punting services. The West Des Moines, Iowa, native ended his brilliant Cyclone career with the 21st-best career punting average in NCAA history (42.4- minimum of 250 punts).
What sets Van Der Kamp apart from the competition has been his consistency, especially in adverse conditions. Van Der Kamp has kicked in all kinds of weather, and the scouts are keenly aware of that.
“I think it’s a huge advantage,” Van Der Kamp said. “I believe anywhere I go, like Chicago, may have the exact same weather. This is what I grew up in so I’m used to it. And then, if I go other places, I can’t see weather being any worse than the Midwest, so I think that’ll be a huge advantage just because I have the experience in windy conditions and rain.”
Van Der Kamp hasn’t dampened his stock after his Cyclone career. He was considered one of the top performers at the Reese’s Senior Bowl, averaging 46.9 yards on eight punts in one of the nation’s best senior showcases.
Although Van Der Kamp would love to be drafted, he’s also aware that many NFL teams search for punters though free agency. Either way, he will be ready.
“My mind is expecting free agency, and if I get drafted that’s even better,” Van Der Kamp said. “But I’m just expecting free agency. This year is different because you have twice as many juniors coming out, so that pushes us down. And it just depends on how many teams need a punter.”
Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads preached all season he had the nation’s best punter. He hasn’t changed his stance.
“A great punter is a weapon,” Rhoads said. “At Iowa State, where we’ve had to win with ball control to a certain extent, you need a guy who can pin people. And Kirby was that guy. Over his four years, and the two bowls that we went to, he was a major contributor to those accomplishments.”
“I think the hardest position to make in the National Football League is a specialist,” Rhoads added. “Three years ago you could’ve been the top guy in the draft, with so many teams ready to take one, and easily even been drafted. And then three years later, you might not be able to find a home. So, Kirby’s under those guidelines a little bit. There’s no question he has a National Football League leg.”
George started to gain a lot of interest from NFL teams after earning First-Team All-Big honors and leading the Big 12 in tackles in 2013 (11.1).
A native of Clearwater, Fla., George’s play on the field earned him respect as one of the nation’s top linebackers. However, George also possesses other skills that NFL teams covet: leadership and work ethic.
The 2013 ISU co-captain was the undisputed inspirational leader of the Cyclones. He hopes his total package will attract a team.
“It’s all about what you do,” George said. “I loved it here at Iowa State. Our coaches always talk about attitude and effort. It’s about the attitude that you have throughout a situation and the effort that you’re willing to put in. Regardless of where someone may go (in the draft), it’s all about what I do when I’m there.”
George tested well on Pro Day in March and also showcased his talent at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl. He’s been 100% committed in fulfilling his life-long dream since his Cyclone career ended.
“I’m what, 5’11, 235?” George said. “But, no matter what down or distance it is or what quarter it is, I’m going to play full-speed, and I’m going to hit you in the mouth. I think teams see that. I will always go out there and play hard because this is the game that I love.”
Rhoads confirms George’s thoughts.
“The excitement that the NFL personnel saw with Jeremiah in our Pro Day is a quick glimpse at the personality that they’re going to get,” Rhoads said. “And it doesn’t matter if it’s the National Football League, a high school team or in the Big 12 Conference. One of the questions a coach wants to ask is, ‘does the guy love to play?’ And Jeremiah loves to play.”