T.J. Tampa Names Myles Purchase, Jeremiah Cooper as Next Men Up on Iowa State’s Defense

T.J. Tampa’s Iowa State career is over, but the former Cyclones star is bullish on the young talent returning to Matt Campbell’s squad in Ames.

Iowa State CB T.J. Tampa set the tone for the Cyclones defense. But now, as he moves on to the NFL, the top 2024 NFL Draft prospect says Iowa State’s secondary is in very good hands.

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T.J. Tampa: Iowa State Has Their “Next Man Up” in the Defensive Backfield

For the past two college football seasons, Tampa was one of the best cornerbacks in the league. In 2022, he racked up an interception and nine pass deflections, and in 2023, he added two picks and seven pass breakups to his career totals.

Tampa was an All-Big 12 performer, and the 6’2″, 200-pound cover man is now viewed as one of the top CB prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft. His loss will be big for Iowa State, but he isn’t worried about the Cyclones’ chances after his departure.

During interviews at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis on Thursday, Tampa credited Iowa State cornerbacks coach Hank Poteat for his development, and also expressed confidence in the talent that the Cyclones have returning to the fold for the 2024 season.

“Just a lot of technical things,” Tampa said when asked about what Poteat helped him with. “Just knowing how to study film, study receivers. He did a great job with that.”

Tampa then lit up when asked about the talent that Iowa State has in tow for 2024.

“We got a lot of players coming in,” Tampa expanded. “We got Jeremiah Cooper, Myles Purchase, Malik Verdon — I could keep naming them. Whole defense, really.”

As good as Tampa was in 2023, Cooper and Purchase were just as good. Purchase logged 15 pass deflections, a number that placed second in the Big 12 behind only West Virginia’s Beanie Bishop Jr.

Cooper, meanwhile, tied for second place in the Big 12 in interceptions with five, and led the Cyclones in that metric. And Verdon, a 6’4″, 215-pound defender in his third year with the Cyclones, broke out with 47 tackles, two picks, and four deflections.

KEEP READING: 2024 Big 12 Power Rankings

Iowa State has always been a strong defensive team under Matt Campbell, and even with a player of Tampa’s caliber heading out the door, the unit should remain strong in 2024.

Even after Iowa State’s star trio of returning defensive backs, the Cyclones also have defensive tackle Tyler Onyedim, who could be an early-round pick in the 2025 NFL Draft with his high-end athletic traits.

Miss any action from the top college QB Rankings during the 2023 football season? Want to track all the movement with the college football transfer portal? College Football Network has you covered with that and more!

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