AMES, Iowa – Rarely do people live up to the hype. High expectations are often dealt to athletes and for them to actually exceed those lofty standards, especially as a freshman, is special.
Such is the case for Iowa State rookie wide receiver Allen Lazard, who has produced record-setting numbers after entering school with unprecedented expectations.
Lazard was arguably the biggest recruit to sign with the Cyclones in recent memory. A high school prep All-American by USA Today, Lazard had his pick of schools after earning Des Moines Register’s All-State Elite team three times in his exceptional career at Urbandale High School.
Lazard chose to play football at Iowa State, just like his father, Kevin, did from 1989-93.
What he’s done in his freshman campaign has been sensational. With 43 catches, he has a chance to break the school record for receptions by a rookie set by Darius Darks, who snared 49 catches in 2008.
He’s also caught a pass in all 11 games and tallied 577 receiving yards and three TDs.
Iowa State All-Time Freshman Leaders In Receptions
- 49, Darius Darks in 2008
- 43, Allen Lazard in 2014
- 39, Todd Blythe in 2004
- 25, Jarvis West in 2011
- 23, Alexander Robinson in 2007
Iowa State All-Time Freshman Leaders in Receiving Yards
- 833, Todd Blythe in 2004
- 577, Allen Lazard in 2014
- 477, Darius Darks in 2008
- 322, Robbie Minor in 1983
- 311, R.J. Sumrall in 2005
Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads said all along in the preseason that Lazard would receive plenty of snaps as a true freshman. But with an inordinate amount of injuries thrown on the Cyclone receiving corps, Lazard didn’t have a much time to learn on the job.
He received his first career start in the second game of the season against Kansas State, catching three passes for 42 yards, including his first career TD reception.
Lazard had been preparing for his first start all through fall camp.
“My goal is to be 100 percent on every single play I’m in and to make sure that I can do everything in my power to help my team win,” Lazard said. “If Quenton (Bundrage) wasn’t hurt and P.J. (Harris) and (Brett) Medders, it’s a different story. I probably would be getting just half the reps as I am now.”
Lazard’s Cyclone roots run deep. Kevin Lazard, who was a team captain for ISU in 1993, raised his two sons, Anthony, who is a redshirt sophomore on the Cyclone football team, and Allen as Cyclones. The two grew up attending every Cyclone football game at Jack Trice Stadium while hearing stories of Kevin’s career.
It was the only place Allen wanted to play.
“Our parents are very happy for us,” Lazard said. “Our dad played here and seeing us together at Iowa State is very special for him.”
You can also call Iowa State offensive coordinator Mark Mangino as a believer. In his extraordinary 30-year coaching career he’s seen a lot of outstanding receivers. He knows one when he sees one, and Lazard fits the bill.
“He has made plays all season that freshmen usually don’t make,” Mangino said. “He has spoiled us and now we want to see him keep going and improving.”