Allen Lazard doesn’t look like your average freshman. At 6’5″, 221 lbs. Lazard is a physical specimen. Most freshman need time to bulk up and become division 1 football ready. Lazard has no need to worry about that. His body is already NFL ready.
Lazard was the biggest recruit in the state of Iowa. The Urbandale, IA native was a four star recruit who picked the Cyclones over Stanford, Nebraska, Notre Dame, California, and Iowa. He was rated as a top-150 recruit nationally by both Scout and ESPN.
His body his ready and his talent is unquestionable.
The real question is what will his role be during his freshman campaign. While his body his ready, he may need to grow into the spot mentally. Learning an entire playbook, especially a Mark Mangino playbook, is no easy task. It is a definite adjustment for a true freshman.
Unfortunately, the Cyclones don’t really have time to wait for Lazard’s maturation. They need another weapon across from Quenton Bundrage and EJ Bibbs right now. With Lazard, Bundrage, Bibbs stretching the field, the Cyclones can finally start putting up some points in the Big 12.
But if Lazard is unable to produce right away, secondaries will focus in on Bundrage and Bibbs, limiting there production, which of course limits the team’s production.
Add Lazard to the mix, and secondaries are going to have their work cut out for them.
Its not realistic to expect Lazard to come in week one, catch 8 passes for 150 yards and 2 touchdowns. Its not even clear how much playing time Lazard is looking at week one. Its probably going to be limited, until he gets more comfortable with the offense and works himself into more consistent playing time.
I would say week 3 or 4 is when we will see Lazard fully integrated into the offense. But Lazard should have an immediate impact right away, regardless of how integrated into the offense he is.
At the very least, Lazard should get red zone reps right away, week one. At 6’5″, Lazard should come in every time the Cyclones enter the red zone.
If he gets man to man coverage, he’s raw skill set and size puts him in a position to win a jump ball every time. If he gets a little more attention, that helps free up Bundrage, Bibbs, or any other receiver that lines up next to him or on the opposite side.
Expect to see Lazard in the red zone week one, and expect to see a lot of Lazard, all over the field, by midseason.