Iowa State is will soon be headed to its first bowl game since 2012.
Much of the success that has gone into the Cyclones 7-5 regular season effort can be credited to senior quarterback-turned-linebacker, Joel Lanning. A hybrid talent for Iowa State, Lanning switched to linebacker from quarterback entering his junior season and thrived following the transition.
In 12 games, Lanning tallied 110 total tackles, which tied with Texas linebacker Malik Jefferson for the second-most in the Big 12, trailing only Kansas linebacker Joe Dineen Jr. (133). Furthermore, Lanning recorded 10 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, 1 interception, 2 pass deflections and 1 fumble recovery, and on the other side of the ball, completed 3 of 4 pass attempts for 47 yards and 1 touchdown, while adding another score on 34 carries for 115 yards. Not to mention, Lanning played on special teams, as well.
With such versatility at hand, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Sports Illustrated, which identified the most intriguing player in all 39 bowl games, named Lanning as the player to watch in Iowa State’s Liberty Bowl meeting with Memphis.
“Lanning is Iowa State’s most versatile weapon. The Cyclones’ 2016 starting quarterback attempted four passes this season and received 34 carries at running back but spent most of his time at linebacker, where he logged five sacks. He spent time on offense, defense and special teams and recovered a fumble against Oklahoma that was key to Iowa State’s biggest win of the year.”
In what will be his final game as a Cyclone, don’t expect much to change in regards to Lanning’s versatility. For those hoping to see the senior do a bit of everything, Lanning may very well once again find himself starting on defense, appearing on special teams and injecting life into the Iowa State offense at times.
The Liberty Bowl between Iowa State and Memphis is set for kickoff at 12:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Dec. 30.
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