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War of Attrition: Iowa State's Rapidly Depleting Linebacker Depth

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Donald Smith, an incoming freshman outside linebacker from Riverview, Florida announced today that he's transferring to Bethune-Cookman to be closer to home. After redshirt freshman linebacker Adrian Bennett announced his transfer in May, this is the second linebacker in as many months to transfer from the Cyclone football program.

While this doesn't hurt the defense immediately, it's a bad sign for the future. Bennett was A.J. Klein's backup on the spring depth chart, and Donald Smith was a 3* prospect who held offers from Iowa, Wake Forest & Washington State. Including two linebackers who committed to ISU before ultimately signing elsewhere, Iowa State has lost a total of six linebackers in the Paul Rhoads era (Smith, Bennett, Cquilin Hubert, Kyle Boyd, Ernest Ferguson, Kevin Hamlin).

Both Smith & Bennett transferred to schools closer to home, reportedly due to homesickness. While it's encouraging to see Iowa State have recent success recruiting in talent-rich states like California, Florida & Texas, it does little good when those recruits transfer back home almost immediately. Iowa State will likely now enter the 2011 season with former walk-on Matt Morton backing up A.J. Klein at SAM and true freshman Jevohn Miller backing up Jake Knott at WILL.

Paul Rhoads famously stated one of his recruiting philosophies shortly after he was hired, saying "It’s not the kids that you lose in recruiting that hurt you, it’s the kids that you get that you miss on. Everybody loses kids to somebody else, but the ones that you get that you weren’t right on, that you didn’t evaluate correctly, those are the ones that really get you." In that sense, both Smith & Bennett have been misses, and misses that may hurt Iowa State in the future.