Ranking Iowa State football's most important 2022 players — No. 4 Colby Reeder

The unofficial start to Iowa State football unfolds next week as the team holds its annual media day at Jack Trice Stadium. Following last year's disappointing 7-6 campaign and the departure of so many foundational players instrumental to the Cyclones' recent success, 2022 is one of the more intriguing seasons under seventh-year coach Matt Campbell, if not the most anticipated.

While the real start to the season — Sept. 3, vs. Southeast Missouri — remains more than a month away, there's lots of time to contemplate what — and who — will be the keys for the Cyclones heading into a new era.

We'll be counting down over the next few days the five most important players for Campbell and Co. to turn the page with a successful 2022 that begins a new story — but, the Cyclones hope, not a new trajectory after a historic run of Iowa State football.

We go now to No. 4.

No. 4 Colby Reeder, LB

Usually when a “new era” is discussed for a football program, it’s because of a coaching change. For Iowa State, though, Campbell is still leading the way, but with so many program stalwarts now cashing NFL checks.

Mike Rose is near the top of that list.

Rose stepped on to campus and was an immediate starter, missing just two games in his entire four-year run as one of the best and most productive linebackers in school history.

Replacing an All-American and Big 12 defensive player of the year is a major undertaking, and Iowa State will also have to replace another star producer at linebacker, Jake Hummel.

And the job is likely to be Colby Reeder’s. 

Iowa State linebacker Colby Reeder is expected to play a major role on the Cyclone defense.
Iowa State linebacker Colby Reeder is expected to play a major role on the Cyclone defense.

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He battled injury throughout his tenure at Delaware, but still managed to put together productive seasons. Last season, despite missing three games, he recorded 55 tackles, 3.5 sacks and an interception.

The 25-year-old Reeder will be aided by the fact he’ll be flanked by a couple of Iowa State veterans in Gerry Vaughn and O’Rien Vance at linebacker, and that coordinator Jon Heacock is still directing the defense.

“It’s a lot different than where I’m from,” Reeder said a few months back during spring practice. “It’s a bigger level of football. It’s a whole different area of the country, but the transition’s been good.”

Linebacker is an focal point in Iowa State’s defense, and the Cyclones can’t afford a major drop-off there if they hope to make their sixth-straight bowl game.

“Not to overstate it, but he’s got a patience and a poise level,” Heacock said of Reeder back in March during spring ball. “He’s a veteran, so he doesn’t get crazy about things that he doesn’t know. He’s smart enough to know what he doesn’t know.

“He’s a veteran player that doesn’t get too high or too low. He just continues to work and play well.”

More on Iowa State football's most important 2022 players

Having Vance and Vaughn in the fold lessens the pressure on Reeder to produce right away, but the Iowa State defense has long counted on its linebackers to carry a lot of responsibility. The position has dominated in the tackling category since Iowa State switched to the 3-3-5 defense. While Vaughn and Vance will certainly be able to carry a significant load, Iowa State will need that third linebacker playing at a high level if it is going to be able to excel.

Travis Hines covers Iowa State University sports for the Des Moines Register and Ames Tribune. Contact him at thines@amestrib.com or  (515) 284-8000. Follow him at @TravisHines21.

This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: Why Iowa State football's linebacker Colby Reeder is key in 2022