DAVENPORT – Tyler Maro could have chosen to continue his football career near the sunny beaches in California, in the desert of Arizona or along the East Coast.
Maro passed on those opportunities to remain close to home.
The Davenport Assumption senior offensive lineman informed coach Matt Campbell more than a week ago he would join the Iowa State University football program. Maro made his commitment public Saturday afternoon.
“Obviously, the recruiting cycle was unlike any other,” Maro said. “My familiarity with Iowa State, the ability to take visits early on and get to some games and having that relationship with the coaching staff, was definitely big and made me more confident in my decision.”
Maro, a 6-foot-7 and 260-pound tackle, had 38 Division I offers.
Arizona State, California, Duke, Harvard, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas State, Louisville, Nebraska, Oregon, Stanford, Texas Christian, UCLA and Yale were among some of the programs to offer over the past year.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit last March, Maro has not been allowed to take any visits or talk with coaches and professors in person. All his research and information-gathering was done through phone calls and Zoom meetings.
“It definitely made things much more difficult, not being able to go out and see places and get on campus,” Maro admitted.
Iowa State emerged as Maro’s front-runner about 2½ weeks ago. He said there were nine other schools he was in contact with late in the process until reaching his decision.
The Cyclones were attractive to Maro for several reasons. The coaching staff and the environment in the program were at the top of that list.
“All the former players believe the program is in great hands,” Maro said. “I didn’t hear one negative thing about coach Campbell or any of his staff. The current players are definitely very excited about what’s going on.
“I got to know some of the other commits from workouts and we all get along really well. It is a great group of guys and easy to mesh with.”
Iowa State, ranked inside the nation’s top 10, is 8-2 and will play in the program’s first Big 12 championship game next Saturday against Oklahoma. The Cyclones have won at least seven games and played in bowl games each of the past three seasons under Campbell.
“He’s taking the program in the right direction,” Maro said, “and this season is a great testament to how possible it really is to have success there.”
At the start of the recruiting process, Maro said proximity to home wasn’t a factor.
“As I narrowed things down to my top few, being close to home became very attractive,” he noted.
Maro plans to pursue a degree in engineering. Iowa State has one of the country’s top engineering programs.
“That played a role in my decision,” he said. “To have 17 engineers in the football program, that’s very unusual but it shows it is possible. That was encouraging to me.”
Listed as a three-star recruit, Maro has been a three-year starter for the Knights. He has been a first team all-state selection in Class 3A by the Iowa Print Sports Writers Association the past two seasons.
Also a starter on the basketball and baseball teams, Maro has a 3.99 grade-point average and an ACT score of 31.
With that, he attracted attention from all over the country.
“At the end of the day, it was an enjoyable process,” Maro said. “Time was a big piece, a lot Zoom calls with coaches, professors, current players and former players to get as much information as possible.”
His father, Randy, attended Iowa State.
The family found a picture of Maro this past week in an Iowa State jersey when he was little.
“We watched games every now and then, but to be honest, being involved in three sports and staying on top of my classwork, I didn’t have any time to follow any particular school,” Maro said.
Maro will sign his national letter of intent with the Cyclones on Wednesday afternoon in the Assumption High School gym. North Scott all-state defensive end Joey Petersen also will sign with Iowa State in this recruiting class.
They will be the third and fourth players from the Quad-Cities metro to be on scholarship with Iowa State for football in recent years along with North Scott’s Zach Petersen and Bettendorf’s Darien Porter.
Maro said the initial plan is for him to redshirt this next season to build strength and speed.
“It definitely is a great feeling (to have this finalized) especially knowing that I put all the time into this and looking at almost every angle of it,” Maro said. “I know I made a pretty sound decision.”