Will McDonald vs Kansas 2019

Iowa State defensive end Will McDonald rushes the back field to force the sack against the University of Kansas on Nov. 23, 2019. 

With just over a month remaining before football season, the Iowa State Cyclones come in with talented players and high expectations. This was reflected by the 2021 Preseason All-Big 12 Team, as eight Cyclones were selected.

Running back Breece Hall was named to the team after leading the nation in rushing yards with 1,572 to go along with 23 total touchdowns. Hall’s outstanding season was good enough to earn him Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year. Hall enters his junior season as one of the best running backs in the nation.

Xavier Hutchinson transferred to the Cyclones in 2020 and made a name for himself taking home the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year award. His breakout season included 771 yards and four touchdowns.

Senior tight end Charlie Kolar was the only unanimous selection in the conference. Kolar has certainly made an impact with Iowa State, as he has been named to the First Team All-Big 12 twice and the second team once. Kolar led the Big 12 in receptions, yards and touchdowns with 44, 591 and seven, respectively.

A pair of offensive linemen also represented Iowa State on the list. Colin Newell anchored the Cyclone line last season, earning the individual honor of First Team All-Big 12 in 2020. His leadership also helped the group become finalists for the Joe Moore Award, which is given to the best offensive line.

Lineman Trevor Downing also made the Preseason All-Big 12 Team despite an injury that allowed him to play just one game in 2020. Downing’s 2019 campaign most likely contributed to this selection, as he was chosen as an All-Big 12 honorable mention.

On the defensive side of the ball, Mike Rose has been selected as the expected Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year next season. Rose gave the media a reason to believe this by winning the award in the previous season. The linebacker led the Big 12 in tackles lat season with 96 to go along with five interceptions.

Will McDonald IV also made the team after tying for the nation lead in sacks last season with 10.5. McDonald is currently third in career sacks in Iowa State history with 17.5 and needs just eight sacks to match the leader, Jaquan Bailey.

Rounding out the list is defensive back Greg Eisworth II. With three All-Big 12 First Team selections in his career, Eisworth is certainly a decorated player. Commanding the secondary, he has been a major boost for Iowa State in his career.

Anticipation for the season may be at an all-time high, but fans will have to continue to wait until September to finally see this team in action.

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