Editor’s note: Last in a series breaking down the ISU football team position by position.
By Dylan Montz, correspondent
AMES — When Jarvis West speaks, people take notice. The quiet fifth-year senior doesn’t go out of his way to be vocal, but when he does talk, it’s a pretty good indication he has something important to say.
West won’t ever be a “rah-rah” type of guy, but Coach Paul Rhoads doesn’t think he has to be to get his point across to teammates.
“He is going to corner people in the locker room and the weight room and have one-on-one conversations and he’s going to have great credibility because of that,” Rhoads said.
The 5-foot-7, 171-pound receiver also has credibility from what he’s accomplished on the football field. Before sustaining a knee injury against Oklahoma State last season, West recorded 15 catches for 105 yards and a touchdown in eight games, while posing a constant threat in the return game.
West made it a goal this season to have a bigger role in the offense. In offensive coordinator Mark Mangino’s offensive system, West sees his smaller size as a bonus that will allow him to find holes in the defense where some of his teammates maybe couldn’t.
“With me being the size I am, I can maneuver a little quicker than some people and get in those windows,” West said. “That’s going to be a big part of my game because I’m not that tall. Being in those windows so the quarterback can see me is going help tremendously.”
Having a bigger role in the offense also came with a learning curve due to the shuffle in ISU coaches. West saw the coaching changes as an opportunity to learn something new from a different perspective rather than the additional work that would be involved.
Receivers coach Tommy Mangino saw West’s ability early on in fall camp in addition to his willingness to accept coaching. The Cyclones’ first-year receivers coach is now eagerly waiting to get him on the game field.
“These guys have been watching him run routes for four years and they kind of know his moves and I’m ready to see what he can do in person,” Mangino said. “I’ve seen video of him, but I’m excited to see him (live).”
Rhoads described West as “slippery and hiccup quick,” but also “pound for pound one of the most explosive players on the team.”
The sixth-year ISU coach even compared West’s explosiveness to former ISU running back Troy Davis and said West has progressed very nicely as a player.
“He’s been around here a long time, and sometimes it doesn’t seem like it with those guys, but this is a guy that’s really grown up,” Rhoads said. “He would have played as a true freshman but he popped his hamstring on a kickoff return, I don’t know how many days out from that first game. I think there’s probably times he reflects back on that and knows how quickly it can be gone.”
Even though West hasn’t become much more vocal with his teammates since he first set foot on campus, he still feels it is his responsibility to guide some of his younger teammates because of his own experiences.
And his teammates will surely be listening.
“I can help a lot of people that haven’t had the opportunity play,” West said, “and I can help them learn some of the things,”
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