Iowa State University - Football

Defensive Coaching Staff

 

JON HEACOCK | Defensive Coordinator

Jon Heacock is in his fourth season as defensive coordinator/safeties coach at Iowa State.

Heacock has 35 years of coaching experience, serving as a head coach at Youngstown State (2001-09) and defensive coordinator stints at Youngstown State (1992-96, 2000), Indiana (1997-99), Kent State (2011-12) and Toledo (2014-15).

Heacock’s imprint on the Cyclone defense has been evident, turning ISU into one of the top defensive teams nationally in the last two seasons. Heacock has utilized multiple schemes – 3-4 and 4-3 – confounding the high-powered Big 12 offenses.

Iowa State has ranked second (20.9- 2017) and first (22.9- 2018) in the Big 12 in scoring defense the last two seasons, both totals among the top-40 nationally.

ISU’s total defense numbers have been just as stout. ISU was third in the Big 12 in total defense (366.2) in 2017 and second in the league in 2018 (349.2).

The 2018 Cyclone defensive unit never missed a beat under Heacock’s leadership. ISU led the Big 12 in rushing defense (115.0) and broke the school record for sacks in a season with 33, ranking 39th nationally in sacks per game (2.5).

ISU was 15th nationally in red zone defense (76.1 percent) and allowed a Big 12-low 10 rushing touchdowns, tying for eighth nationally, as the Cyclones went 8-5, made a trip to the Valero Alamo Bowl and broke the school record for conference wins in a season with six.

Heacock’s work with safety Greg Eisworth in 2018 was instrumental in helping the junior college transfer earn First-Team All-Big 12 honors and Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year accolades.

Heacock’s defenders produced historic numbers in 2017, helping Iowa State to one of its greatest seasons in recent years with an 8-5 record, the second-most wins in school history, and a victory in the 2017 Liberty Bowl over Memphis.

Iowa State also broke its school record for wins over ranked opponents (3), victories on the road (5) and appeared in the AP national rankings for the first time in 12 years in 2017.

The improvement of the ISU defense in 2017 was simply amazing. The Cyclones ranked second in the Big 12 and 26th nationally in scoring defense (20.9), and ranked third in the Big 12 in total defense (366.2).

It had been over 10 years since the Cyclones ended a season with under 400 yards of total defense.

Once Big 12 play began, ISU was even better, ranking second in the league in scoring defense (18.9) and total defense (357.2) in conference games only.

ISU allowed only 68 points after intermission in its 10 conference games, giving up on average a meager 6.8 points in the second half.

ISU, which also led the league in passing defense (213.9), broke its school record for tackles for loss in a season under Heacock’s direction. His swarming defense registered 96 TFL to rank second in the Big 12 and 16th nationally.

Twice during the season, the Cyclones held a Big 12 opponent without an offensive touchdown (Kansas, TCU), limiting Kansas to just 106 yards of total offense, the fewest by a league opponent in almost 60 years.

A total of 12 Cyclone defenders have earned some sort of all-conference recognition in the last two seasons, including linebacker Joel Lanning, who was a First-Team All-American by the FWAA in his first season at the position in 2017.

Heacock was named as one of 15 finalists for the Broyles Award, given annually to the nation’s best assistant coach, in 2017.

In his three seasons in Ames, Heacock’s defensive unit has three of the top four TFL seasons in school history. The Cyclones have also tied the school mark for sacks in a game (seven vs. Oklahoma State and West Virginia in 2018) and TFL in a game (16 vs. Oklahoma State in 2018) under his direction.

Heacock held the title of Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator at Toledo from 2014-15, shaping the Toledo defense into one of the best units in the Mid-American Conference. In his two years at UT, the Rockets appeared in a pair of bowl games, won 19 games and shared two MAC West Conference crowns.

In 2015, the Rockets were ranked in the AP Top-25 for most of the season and were at the top of the MAC defensive statistical categories, ranking No. 1 in scoring defense (20.8) and second in rushing defense (114.2). Five Rocket defenders earned All-MAC accolades, including a pair of first-teamers in Orion Jones (defensive tackle) and Cheatham Norrils (cornerback).

The Rockets ranked No. 1 in the Mid-American Conference in rushing defense (116.2 yards per game) in 2014 after ranking fifth the season prior (170.4). Toledo’s defense held opponents to 20 points or fewer in five games, helping the Rockets earn a 9-4 record, 7-1 in MAC play.

Four Rockets earned All-MAC honors in 2014, including linebacker Junior Sylvestre, who made first-team All-MAC for the second straight season.

Heacock returned to Toledo after spending one season as the defensive backs coach at Purdue (2013).

Prior to that, he was the defensive coordinator and cornerbacks coach at Kent State from 2011-12. Under Heacock, the Golden Flashes’ defense had 38 takeaways in 2012, second among all FBS schools, and an FBS-best +1.62 turnover margin. The Flashes finished with an 11-3 record in 2012, including a perfect 8-0 mark in the Mid-American Conference. They were in the upper half of the MAC in nearly every defensive statistical category, including second in rushing defense and fourth in scoring defense.

In 2011, Heacock’s defense was seventh in the FBS in fumbles recovered and turnover margin, 10th in turnovers gained, 18th in tackles for loss and 21st in total defense.

Prior to joining KSU, Heacock spent nine seasons as the head coach at Youngstown State, which included a 2006 run to the national semifinals in the Football Championship Subdivision. He was named the Gateway Conference Coach of the Year in 2005 and 2006, and ended his tenure with a 60-44 overall record. He was also named the American Football Coaches Association’s Division I-AA Region Four Coach of the Year in both seasons and was a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Award.

In addition to serving as the head coach at YSU, Heacock also served as the Penguins’ defensive coordinator under Jim Tressel for six years (1992-96, 2000) and defensive backs coach for an additional year (1991), which included Division I-AA national championships in 1991, 1993 and 1994.

In between his stints on the YSU staff, Heacock served as the defensive coordinator at Indiana from 1997-99.

A native of Beloit, Ohio, Heacock graduated from West Branch High School in 1979. He played college football at Muskingum College, graduating in 1983 with a degree in health and physical education.

In 1984, he served on the football coaching staff at Steubenville High School, where he helped the team to an Ohio Division II State Championship. Heacock then served as the defensive coordinator, defensive line coach, and secondary coach at West Liberty University from 1985 to 1987.

The next two seasons, he was a graduate assistant on Bo Schembechler’s staff at the University of Michigan, where he worked with both the defensive backs and special teams during a stretch in which Michigan won two Big Ten Conference titles and the 1989 Rose Bowl.

Heacock and his wife, Trescia, have a son, Jace, and daughter, Adelyn. 

 

TYSON VEIDT | Assistant Head Coach / Linebackers

Tyson Veidt is in his fourth season as assistant head coach/linebackers coach at Iowa State.

Veidt (pronounced “VITE”) was the linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator on Matt Campbell's Toledo staff in 2014-15.

Veidt’s work with the Cyclone linebackers in his first three seasons has been phenomenal. For the second season in a row in 2018, Veidt coached all three starters to all-conference recognition.

Behind the strength of the linebacking crew, ISU led the Big 12 in both scoring defense (22.9) and rushing defense (115.0) in 2018, as the Cyclones went 8-5, broke the school record for conference wins in a season (six) and made the Valero Alamo Bowl.

ISU also broke its school record for sacks in a season with 33, as Veidt’s linebackers accounted for 10 of the quarterback tackles.  

Willie Harvey earned honorable mention All-Big 12 accolades for the third time and Marcel Spears received all-league recognition for the second year in a row in 2018. Mike Rose, a true freshman, came out of nowhere to earn honorable mention All-Big 12 honors at the Mike linebacker spot.

Rose was second nationally among FBS rookies in TFL (9.0), earning First-Team Freshman All-America honors by the FWAA.

Veidt was rewarded for his work as a finalist for the Broyles Award, given annually to the nation’s best assistant coach.

ISU’s 2017 season was one of the best in the history of the program. The Cyclones compiled an 8-5 record, the second-most wins in school history, and scored a victory in the 2017 Liberty Bowl over Memphis, only the fourth bowl win in the history of the program.

Iowa State also broke its school record for wins over ranked opponents (3), victories on the road (5) and appeared in the AP national rankings for the first time in 12 years.

The improvement of the ISU defense in 2017 was simply amazing, and Veidt’s linebackers were at the heart of the team’s success. The Cyclones ranked second in the Big 12 and 26th nationally in scoring defense (20.9), and ranked third in the Big 12 in total defense (366.2).

It had been over 10 years since the Cyclones ended a season with under 400 yards of total defense.

Once Big 12 play began, ISU was even better, ranking second in the league in scoring defense (18.9) and total defense (357.2) in conference games only.

Veidt’s work with the Cyclone linebackers in 2017 was noted nationally when he was named the Linebackers Coach of the Year by FootballScoop. All three of his starters earned all-conference recognition in Joel Lanning (first team), Spears (honorable mention) and Harvey (honorable mention).

The trio accounted for 30.5 of ISU’s school-record 96 TFL, a total that ranked 16th nationally.

Perhaps Veidt’s biggest accomplishment in 2017 was transforming Lanning into a First-Team All-American linebacker. Lanning, who hadn’t played linebacker since eighth grade, was a quarterback in his first four seasons as a Cyclone before switching over to linebacker in his final season.

Lanning became a national story with his outstanding play at linebacker and incredible versatility, ranking third in the Big 12 in tackles (8.8) and recording 11.0 TFL and 6.0 sacks. Lanning had a 20-tackle game vs. Texas, the fifth-best FBS total of the season and the ninth-best single-game total in the Iowa State record book.

Lanning ended the season earning All-America honors from a number of outlets and was the runner-up for the Paul Hornung Award, given annually to the nation’s most versatile collegiate football player.

Spears was second on the team in tackles (107) and registered 8.5 TFL and two interceptions. Spears was the back-to-back winner of the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week award (Texas Tech, TCU) when he sealed a pair of victories with fourth-quarter interceptions.

Harvey blossomed in his first season with Veidt in 2016. An Honorable Mention All-Big 12 pick, Harvey tied for second on the team in sacks (3.0) and led the team with two forced fumbles to rank in the top-10 in the Big 12.

In 2015, linebacker Chase Murdock led the Rockets in the regular-season with 78 tackles and posted 7.5 TFL, as UT won nine games and earned a bowl bid. The Rockets ranked No. 11 nationally in rushing defense, holding opponents to a mere 115.5 yards per game on the ground.  

In his first season at UT in 2014, Veidt mentored seniors Junior Sylvestre and Ray Bush, who were the centerpiece of a defense that led the MAC in rushing defense with 116.2 yards allowed per game. Sylvestre earned first-team All-MAC honors and is currently a member of the Indianapolis Colts.

Veidt formerly served as the head coach at Bluffton University (OH) from 2008-13. He made great strides in his six seasons at Bluffton. He rebuilt a program that finished with a 1-9 record in 2007 and led it to a 5-5 mark in 2011 and 6-4 record in 2012, including 5-3 ledgers in league play both seasons and a top-10 ranking nationally. The Beavers broke or established 40 school records during this time. Veidt also directed Bluffton to four straight wins over rival Defiance College. The Beavers placed a record number of student-athletes on the all-conference team during Veidt’s tenure.

Veidt’s teams excelled in the classroom, as well. The Bluffton football team recorded the highest GPA in school history, as well as placing a record number of football players on the Dean’s List. Senior offensive lineman Thomas Gingrich was named CoSIDA Academic All-America in 2012, the first football player in Bluffton history to receive that honor.

Veidt attended Muskingum College where he was a two-year starter on the football team, earning three letters from 1994-96. He received Academic All-Ohio Athletic Conference honors on three occasions. During the 1997 and 1998 campaigns, the Logan, Ohio, native was a graduate assistant at Muskingum where he worked for head coach Jeff Heacock.

Vedit served as a graduate assistant at Indiana before returning to his alma mater to serve as defensive coordinator, a position he held from 2000-03. He then worked for two seasons as a defensive GA at West Virginia under head coach Rich Rodriguez. Veidt was a part of the 2004 and 2005 Big East Champion teams, a 2004 Gator Bowl appearance and a 2006 Sugar Bowl win. Veidt then moved on to coach two seasons at Saint Vincent (PA) College, where he was the defensive coordinator, prior to accepting the Bluffton head position in 2008.

Veidt graduated cum laude from Muskingum in 1996 with a degree in pre-physical therapy and a master’s degree in athletic coaching education from WVU in 2005.

Veidt and his wife, Mandy, have a son, Teddy, and twin girls, Lamonica and Guiliana.

 

ELI RASHEED | Defensive Line

Eli Rasheed is in his fourth season as defensive line coach at Iowa State after working with Matt Campbell's staff at Toledo for seven seasons. 

In his first three seasons in Ames, Rasheed has coached five Cyclones to All-Big 12 honors a total of seven times.

Behind the strength of the defensive line, ISU led the Big 12 in both scoring defense (22.9) and rushing defense (115.0) in 2018, as the Cyclones went 8-5, broke the school record for conference wins in a season (six) and made the Valero Alamo Bowl.

ISU also broke its school record for sacks in a season with 33, as Rasheed’s defensive front accounted for 17 of the quarterback tackles.

Rasheed mentored two players who earned Second-Team All-Big 12 honors during the 2018 campaign in Ray Lima (DT) and JaQuan Bailey (DE). Lima proved to be one of the best run-stoppers in the Big 12 for the second-straight season.

Bailey was fourth in the Big 12 in sacks (8.0), ranking third on ISU’s season record list, and sixth in the league in TFL (14.5), the ninth-best total in school history.

Bailey enters his senior season sharing the school record in career sacks with 18.5.

ISU’s 2017 season was one of the best in the history of the program. The Cyclones compiled an 8-5 record, the second-most wins in school history, and scored a victory in the 2017 Liberty Bowl over Memphis, only the fourth bowl win in the history of the program.

Iowa State also broke its school record for wins over ranked opponents (3), victories on the road (5) and appeared in the AP national rankings for the first time in 12 years.

The improvement of the ISU defense in 2017 was simply amazing, and Rasheed’s defensive front was instrumental in the team’s incredible improvement. The Cyclones ranked second in the Big 12 and 26th nationally in scoring defense (20.9), and ranked third in the Big 12 in total defense (366.2).

Three of Rasheed’s defensive linemen earned all-conference honors in 2017, including senior J.D. Waggoner, who was a Second-Team All-Big 12 honoree at defensive end. Waggoner tied for seventh in the Big 12 in tackles for loss with 13.5.

Lima and Bailey were Honorable Mention All-Big 12 honorees. Bailey was fifth in the Big 12 in sacks (7.0).

Waggoner, Lima and Bailey helped the Cyclones break their school record in TFL with 97, ranking 16th nationally in TFL per game (7.4). Rasheed’s unit accumulated nearly 40 of ISU’s TFL on the season.

Rasheed’s front four were solid in his initial season with the Cyclones in 2016. His unit recorded 31.5 of ISU’s 80.0 TFL on the year, a total which ranked 36th nationally and was the best by a Cyclone defense since 1999.

Under Rasheed’s guidance, Jhaustin Thomas had a breakout senior year after moving to the inside from end. Thomas led the team in TFL, ranking 12th in the Big 12 at 9.5 to help him earn Second-Team All-Big 12 accolades.

He also cultivated the emergence of true freshman Bailey, who led the team in sacks at 3.5, the third-best total by a Cyclone rookie in school history. Bailey was named an honorable mention freshman All-American for his outstanding play.

Rasheed’s impact on Toledo’s front four during his seven years at the school was pivotal to its success. Annually, the Rockets ranked among the elite in the MAC in rushing defense and scoring defense.

In all, the Rockets qualified to four bowl games and registered four nine-win seasons in Rasheed’s seven seasons at the school.

In 2015, the Rockets led the MAC in scoring defense (21.1) and ranked second in the league in rushing defense (115.5) in the 12-game regular season. UT beat two power five teams (Arkansas, Iowa State) and was ranked in the nation’s top-25 throughout the majority of the season.

One of Rasheed’s top players was senior Orion Jones, who was sixth in the MAC in sacks (6.0) and eighth in the league in TFL (11.5) en route to first-team All-MAC accolades. End Trent Voss was a third-team All-MAC pick after recording 58 tackles, 9.5 TFL and two fumble recoveries.

The 2014 Rocket line may have been the best under Rasheed. A pair of tackles, Jones and sophomore Treyvon Hester, each earned All-MAC honors. Voss finished second in the MAC with 15.0 tackles for loss, and earned defensive MVP honors in the GoDaddy Bowl when he racked up 4.0 TFL and scored a touchdown on a fumble recovery on the first play from scrimmage.

As a team, the Rockets led the MAC and ranked 14th in the nation in rushing defense in 2014, allowing just 116.2 yards per game. It was the fewest rushing yards allowed by a Toledo defense in 13 years. Rocket opponents gained just 3.5 yards per carry, also the lowest since 2001.

In 2013, the Rockets ranked second in the MAC and 20th in the country with 2.8 sacks per game. Senior defensive end Jayrone Elliott led the way with nine sacks and 14.0 tackles for loss. Elliott, now with the Green Bay Packers, made first-team All-MAC, while freshman defensive tackle Treyvon Hester made third-team all-league.

In 2012, Rasheed was faced with the challenge of losing both of his starting defensive ends to injury. Nevertheless, the line held together, and Toledo finished with a 9-4 record and a berth into the 2012 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.

Rasheed came to Toledo after spending six seasons as the defensive tackles coach at Florida Atlantic. Prior to that, he enjoyed a successful high school coaching career as an assistant at Venice (FL) High School and head coach at Booker (FL) High School.

Rasheed grew up in Indianapolis and played defensive line at Indiana University from 1991-95, participating in bowl games in 1991 and 1993. He began his coaching career at Venice (FL) High School, working as an assistant from 1996-2000 and again in 2002. He helped the Indians capture the Florida 5A state, regional and district championships in 2000 and 2002. Venice also captured the 1999 District Championship. In between his stints at Venice, Rasheed was the head coach at Booker (FL) High School, leading the Tornadoes to a 6-5 record in 2001.

Rasheed joined Florida Atlantic’s staff in the 2003 season, helping the Owls to an 11-3 mark, a No. 13 ranking and a semifinals appearance in the I-AA playoffs. The Owls moved to I-A status in 2006, and Rasheed helped mold a defensive line that keyed FAU’s back-to-back bowl victories in 2007 and 2008. In 2007, the Owls went 8-5 and defeated Memphis in the New Orleans Bowl, 44-27. In 2008, FAU posted a 7-6 record and posted a 24-21 win over Central Michigan in the Motor City Bowl.

Rasheed has coached two NFL players and three defensive linemen who later played in the Canadian Football League.

Rasheed and his wife, Caprice, have five children: Shanita, Dezmen, a former Wisconsin safety who was drafted in the third round by Atlanta in 2014, Darius, Osha and Tyra.

 

D.K. MCDONALD | Safeties

D.K. McDonald, who spent four years at Toledo on Matt Campbell’s staff, is in his fourth season as cornerbacks coach at Iowa State.

In his first three seasons at Iowa State, McDonald has mentored three corners who have earned All-Big 12 recognition five times.

McDonald’s work with the cornerbacks helped ISU lead the Big 12 in both scoring defense (22.9) and rushing defense (115.0) in 2018, as the Cyclones went 8-5, broke the school record for conference wins in a season (six) and made the Valero Alamo Bowl.

One of McDonald’s success stories was Brian Peavy, who earned First-Team All-America honors by Pro Football Focus and was lauded as an All-Big 12 performer for the fourth consecutive season in 2018.

Peavy ranks as one of the best cornerbacks in the history of the program, ending his career with 47 starts, 289 tackles, six interceptions, six forced fumbles and 44 passes defended.  

ISU’s 2017 season was one of the best in the history of the program. The Cyclones compiled an 8-5 record, the second-most wins in school history, and scored a victory in the 2017 Liberty Bowl over Memphis, only the fourth bowl win in the history of the program.

Iowa State also broke its school record for wins over ranked opponents (3), victories on the road (5) and appeared in the AP national rankings for the first time in 12 years.

The improvement of the ISU defense in 2017 was simply amazing. The Cyclones ranked second in the Big 12 and 26th nationally in scoring defense (20.9), and ranked third in the Big 12 in total defense (366.2).

It had been over 10 years since the Cyclones ended a season with under 400 yards of total defense.

Once Big 12 play began, ISU was even better, ranking second in the league in scoring defense (18.9) and total defense (357.2) in conference games only.

McDonald’s work with All-Big 12 corners Peavy and D’Andre Payne played a huge role in the Cyclones’ defensive success in 2017.

Peavy earned all-league recognition for the third consecutive season as a Second-Team All-Big 12 recipient. Peavy led the team with four takeaways and ranked ninth in the Big 12 in passes defended (11) to aid the Cyclones to a league-best 213.9 passing defense total (conference games only).

Payne, who earned Honorable Mention All-Big 12 accolades, had 48 tackles and 6.0 TFL in 2017.

In 2016, Jomal Wiltz and Peavy both were named Honorable Mention All-Big 12 by the league’s coaches. Wiltz ranked in the top-10 in the Big 12 in passes defended and picked off two passes. Wiltz spent part of the 2017 season on the New England Patriots practice squad.

Peavy was fourth on the team in tackles (62) and ranked fourth in the Big 12 in passes defended to help the Cyclone defense rank third in the league in passing defense (234.8).

McDonald played a critical role in nurturing the Rockets’ secondary in his tenure at Toledo. He was also a part of three nine-win campaigns and three bowl teams in his four seasons with the Rockets.

In 2015, McDonald’s work with the cornerbacks helped the Rockets rank first in the MAC in scoring defense at 21.1 points per game. One of his star corners, Cheatham Norrils, was fifth in the league in breakups with 13. Norrils ended his senior year with 60 tackles and three interceptions, as UT won nine games and earned its third bowl berth in four seasons.

Norrils went on to earn first-team All-MAC honors in 2015.

McDonald may have faced his greatest challenge as a coach in 2014 when senior corners Norrils and Cameron Cole were lost for the season due to injuries. But McDonald skillfully guided the Rockets’ young players, helping Toledo go 9-4 and win the GoDaddy Bowl. Junior Christian Dukes led UT cornerbacks with 62 tackles, two interceptions and 10 breakups.

In 2012, Toledo’s secondary helped the Rockets rank among the top 25 in the nation in fourth-down conversions (ninth), red-zone defense (10th), interceptions (18th) and turnovers forced (25th). UT went 9-4 and earned a trip to play Utah State in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.

A native of Orrville, Ohio, McDonald previously coached defensive backs at Edinboro (2003-05), Indiana University of Pennsylvania (2006-10) and William & Mary (2011).

McDonald came to Toledo after one season at William & Mary, where he coached the defensive backs. Prior to that, McDonald was the secondary coach at Indiana (PA) for five seasons. During his tenure with the Crimson Hawks, McDonald mentored a pair of All-Americans and five all-conference performers. Highlighting those standouts was Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, a fourth-round draft pick by the Dallas Cowboys in 2010. In addition to his coaching duties with the defense, McDonald also served as IUP’s recruiting coordinator.

Prior to his stint at IUP, McDonald coached and coordinated the defensive secondary at his alma mater, Edinboro (PA), from 2003-06. During that time, he developed an All-American and four all-conference honorees. In 2005, the Fighting Scots led the nation in scoring, rushing and total defense and ranked third in passing efficiency defense.

McDonald was a four-year starter at cornerback at Edinboro from 1997-2000. He was a first-team All-PSAC West selection as a junior when he totaled 29 tackles and a team-high 11 pass breakups. McDonald finished his career with 108 tackles, four interceptions and 34 breakups.

McDonald graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history in 2001 and was a scholar-athlete all four years. He served as the president of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and was an Erie area representative for that organization after his graduation.

McDonald and his wife Kayla have two daughters - Reagan and Margot.

 

MATT CAPONI | Cornerbacks

Matt Caponi is in his first season at Iowa State assisting the Cyclone secondary.  

Caponi, who has 15 years of collegiate coaching experience, reunites with Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell. The two Mount Union (Ohio) graduates were on staff together at Mount Union in 2005.

Prior to his arrival in Ames, Caponi was the defensive backs coach at West Virginia from 2016-18. The Mountaineers were one of the top defensive teams in the Big 12 during his tenure in Morgantown.

In 2018, Caponi mentored four players who earned All-Big 12 recognition, including Kenny Robinson Jr., who was a First-Team All-Big 12 selection after tying for third in the league in interceptions (4) and ranking fourth in the conference in tackles (77).  
 
The 2017 defense ranked No. 16 nationally in most defensive three-and-outs per game and No. 24 in best third-down defense. Kyzir White, who was drafted in the fourth round of the NFL Draft by San Diego, was named an honorable mention All-American and a Second-Team All-Big 12 pick. He tied for seventh in the Big 12 in tackles.
 
In his first year at WVU (2016), the Mountaineer defense ranked No. 24 nationally in fumbles recovered (11) and turnovers gained (25) and No. 35 in pass interceptions (14) and scoring defense (24.0). In Big 12 games, WVU’s defense was No. 1 in scoring defense, total defense and fewest opponent first downs, No. 2 in rushing defense land No. 3 in third-down defense.

He came to West Virginia after serving as the safeties coach at Arizona for four years, first as a graduate assistant in 2012 and then as a full-time coach from 2013-15.
 
In 2014, he coached All-Pac 12 honoree Jared Tevis, who finished second on the team in tackles and fourth in the conference with 120. He also had nine tackles for loss, two interceptions, four pass breakups and two forced fumbles.
 
In 2013, Arizona safeties accounted for almost one-third of the Wildcats’ total tackles and had five interception returns for touchdowns, tied for most among FBS schools. The UA defense had 18 interceptions, the most since totaling 16 in 2008.
 
Prior to Arizona, he spent one year as a graduate assistant at Pitt (2011) and was the defensive coordinator at Washington & Jefferson for three years (2008-11).
 
At W&J, Caponi worked with the linebackers in 2010 and oversaw the secondary for three years (2006-09). While he was on staff in 2008, the Presidents advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA National Tournament.
 
He started his coaching career in 2004 as a student assistant at Mount Union and was the JV Coordinator and linebackers coach in 2005.
 
Caponi played for national powerhouse Mount Union, helping the Raiders to a 55-1 record and three NCAA Division III national championships. He was a team captain, a starting safety and earned second team all-conference honors as a senior.
 
The Pittsburgh, Penn., native graduated from Mount Union with a bachelor’s degree in physical education in 2005. 
 
He and his wife, the former Kathleen Coyne, have a son, Salvatore.

 

COLBY KRATCH | Assistant Director of Player Personnel

Colby Kratch is in his second season as an assistant director of scouting after working as a graduate assistant for the Cyclone defense in 2017.

The 2018 and 2019 recruiting classes rank as the two best recruiting groups in school history according to the 247Sports composite rankings. 

The 2019 Iowa State recruiting class is the best in school history, ranking No. 39 nationally by 247Sports, compiling a program-best .8550 composite rating.

Iowa State recorded one of its best seasons in school history in 2018, as the Cyclones went 8-5, broke the school record for conference wins in a season (six), posted their best conference finish in 40 years (T3rd) and made the Valero Alamo Bowl.

ISU’s 2017 season got the program on the map. The Cyclones compiled an 8-5 record, the second-most wins in school history, and scored a victory in the 2017 Liberty Bowl over Memphis, only the fourth bowl win in the history of the program. 

Iowa State also broke its school record for wins over ranked opponents (3), victories on the road (5), wins vs. conference opponents (5) and appeared in the AP national rankings for the first time in 12 years in 2017. 

Kratch worked with the Cyclone defense in 2017, helping the team rank second in the Big 12 and 26th nationally in scoring defense (20.9), and third in the Big 12 in total defense (366.2).

It had been over 10 years since the Cyclones ended a season with under 400 yards of total defense.

Once Big 12 play began, ISU was even better, ranking second in the league in scoring defense (18.9) and total defense (357.2) in conference games only.

Prior to his arrival in Ames, Kratch spent two years (2015-16) as a graduate assistant at Michigan State, working primarily with the offensive line. The Spartans won the Big Ten Championship, compiled a 12-2 record and qualified for the College Football Playoff in his first season in East Lansing in 2015.

Kratch was a two-year letterwinner at tight end for Toledo (2011-12) after competing two years of junior college football at North Dakota State College of Science from 2009-10.

Kratch earned his bachelor’s degree in broadcasting from UT in 2013.

Following graduation, Kratch was an offensive intern for the Rockets in 2012 and an offensive graduate assistant in 2013 for Matt Campbell’s staff.

A native of Watertown, Minnesota, Kratch was a three-year letterwinner in football and hockey at Watertown-Mayer High School. He made all-conference in football as a senior.

Kratch’s father, Bob Kratch, played eight years in the NFL for the New York Giants and New England Patriots. He was a two-time All-Big Ten selection at Iowa (1986 and 1988).