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From greyshirt to starter, Landen Akers plays key role in Iowa State’s development

Published: Jan. 2, 2021 at 12:13 AM CST
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AMES, Iowa (KCRG) - Normally, college football players play between four to five years at a program, some of them may transfer to another school. Iowa State senior Landen Akers’ journey through the Iowa State football program is one that doesn’t happen every day.

“It’s been a very long journey, but it’s been rewarding along the way,” Akers said.

Akers will play his final game in an Iowa State uniform on Saturday when the Cyclones face Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl. He’s been with the program for six years.

In his first semester on campus, Akers greyshirted, which means that a scholarship wasn’t available at the time. He couldn’t play football or participate in team activities. He also couldn’t workout in the team facilities.

“I watched them play every day and I had to sit back,” Akers said.

“He was working over 20 hours a week at Fareway,” said his mother, Kymm Barnes. “He was taking his credits. He was working out on his own. So he kept busy... I never got the sense that he was questioning what he was doing because he knew there was a timeline.”

Akers was given a scholarship just before the end of the 2015 season, but after the season, head coach Paul Rhoads was fired and Matt Campbell was hired a few weeks later. Campbell honored Akers’ scholarship and it’s paid off.

“When I talk about Landen, I talk about the glue of Iowa State football,” Campbell said. “He will leave this program reaching his full potential and has really given a great measuring stick for all of those that will come after him to say, I want to be that guy. This guy did everything to better this football team.”

“It’s probably the best time of my life being a Cyclone,” Akers said.

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