Top of his game


Allen Lazard is poised to break Cyclone receiving records this fall

By Andrew Stubblefield

Coming out of high school, senior wide receiver Allen Lazard was recruited by traditional powers such as Notre Dame, Nebraska, Stanford, California, and Oregon. The Urbandale High Schooler was one of the most highly touted prospects in his 2014 class.

But family ties and a one-of-a-kind fan base led Lazard to choose the Cyclones. Sitting on the hillsides at Jack Trice Stadium had been a big part of the Lazard family’s routine.

“It was hard for me to say no [to Iowa State],” Lazard said. “At the end of the day I tried to picture myself at any other university and I just couldn’t. I knew Iowa State was the best fit for me.”

With the decision made, Lazard was determined to make a quick impact within the program. He got to work immediately in his first season wearing the Cardinal and Gold. The first catch of his career went for 48 yards against North Dakota State, and Lazard earned Big 12 All-Underclassman honors. Lazard’s early success was not an aberration.

During his three seasons with the Cyclones, Lazard has accumulated 2,419 receiving yards and needs just 677 more to pass Todd Blythe’s school record of 3,096. Additionally, only six receptions separate Lazard and Blythe (’08 lib stds) on the career receptions list.

He has also had at least one reception in the 35 games he has played as a Cyclone, shattering Otto Stowe’s previous record of 23 consecutive games with a reception. Lazard is also tied for the most 100-yard receiving games and most consecutive 100-yard receiving games.

Despite having the records at his fingertips, Lazard is not completely focused on catching them.

“I’ve always been a team-oriented guy,” Lazard said. “All I care about is the success of the team. At the end of the day, if we win the game then I’m happy with whatever I had to do to make that happen.”

Standing at 6 feet, 5 inches tall and weighing approximately 222 pounds, Lazard is a dangerous combination of strength, size, and speed.

“Most defenders are significantly shorter than me,” Lazard said. “I would say, on average, [most defenders are] about five inches shorter than me. I have a lot of height and length I can use to my advantage, and I am typically a lot stronger than them as well.”

Lazard’s records and accomplishments are numerous and impressive, but even more remarkable is the fact he accomplished the feats under four different quarterbacks.

During Lazard’s junior campaign he recorded six 100-yard receiving games, good enough to break the school record. He did so under a dual quarterback system, with Joel Lanning (’17 liberal studies) and Jacob Park locked in a battle for the quarterback spot during the entire 2016 season. Park would eventually prevail and earn the spot.

“Park started understanding my style of play,” Lazard said. “[He understood] where I like the ball at, where I’m vulnerable on the field, and where I strive better at. I started understanding where he likes to throw the ball, what he’s looking at, and what his reads are.”

Lazard ended the season strong, with 570 yards in his last five games and three straight 100-yard receiving games – tying a school record – to put an exclamation point on the end of the year.

Most recently, Lazard was named a preseason All-American by Athlon Sports, is a preseason all-Big 12 selection, and was named a team captain. Lazard was the second member of his family to become a captain, as his father, Kevin Lazard (A)(’94 management), was a co-captain of the 1993 Iowa State football team.

“It’s a huge honor,” Lazard said. “Just knowing that my dad was a captain [at Iowa State] made me proud of him. Knowing the man that he is, as a family man, makes me feel proud of myself because I know I am doing something right and that he raised me well.”

The Lazard family history runs deep in Ames. In addition to his father Kevin, Lazard’s brother Anthony (’16 kinesiology & health) played football at Iowa State from 2012 to 2016.

It’s that sense of family pride and legacy that keeps Lazard motivated to change the course of history for Iowa State.

“Once I leave this university, I want nothing but success for the future of this program,” Lazard said. “I just want to be sure that I gave this university and this football team as much as I could so that I can leave it in a better place.”

Iowa State has not made it to a bowl game in Lazard’s time at Iowa State, but the Cyclones are set on changing that in the 2017 season.

“I think it is a number-one priority on our list,” Lazard said. “Not only to go to a bowl game, but to win it.”

“We are going into every week planning on winning,” Lazard continued. “We are going to start at the top and we want to go to the Big 12 championship. We are not going to limit ourselves to six wins. We want to aim high.”

The culture is shifting in the Iowa State football program, and Lazard is right at the center of it.

“Coach Campbell always says, ‘Change happens in small amounts,’” Lazard said. “You get one or two guys and their attitude changes, you see it starting to feed off to other people.”

After the 2016 season, Lazard flirted with an opportunity to take his talents to the NFL. Ultimately, he felt he still had more to give to the university and decided to stay in Ames for his senior year. With his decision to stay, Lazard will have one more season to cement his legacy at Iowa State.

“I want people to talk about me forever,” Lazard said. “I want people to consider me a Cyclone great and that I helped put Iowa State football on the map.”

Andrew Stubblefield is a junior at ISU, majoring in public relations.

This article was originally published in VISIONS magazine. To receive the full issue delivered to your mailbox four times per year, become a member of the ISU Alumni Association.

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