Rhoads began his signing day press conference Wednesday by holding up Lazard's signed letter of intent, a not-so-subtle jab at those who questioned if the four-star prospect actually would sign with the Cyclones.
Iowa State signed 25 players, including seven junior college transfers who are counted on for immediate help. Six of the transfers play defense, a unit Rhoads needs to strengthen after the Cyclones surrendered 463 yards and 36 points a game in slumping to 3-9 last fall.
Chief among the transfers is linebacker Jordan Harris, who led the nation's junior college players with 124 tackles last season.
Lazard, from the Des Moines suburb of Urbandale, caught 21 touchdown passes last fall and averaged nearly 22 yards per catch. He stuck with his commitment to the Cyclones, which he gave in December of 2012, despite continued overtures from schools such as Notre Dame and Iowa.His father, Kevin Lazard, played defensive back at Iowa State from 1990-93.
"He's not going to a school in northern Indiana," Rhoads said. "He's not going to another school in this state who feverishly tried to call him about half a dozen times in the last week. Much to the dismay of people in this room who wasted a lot of space and time challenging his words of commitment, he's going right here to Iowa State University."
Harris, a 5-11, 233-pounder from Copiah-Lincoln Community College in Mississippi, is seen as a replacement for Jeremiah George, who led the Big 12 in tackles as a senior last season.
National rankings (Rivals 54; Scout 50)
Best in class: Allen Lazard, wr, Urbandale, Iowa.
Best of the rest: Jordan Harris, lb, Clarksdale, Miss.; Martinez Syria, rb, Humble, Texas; Mike Warren, rb, Lawton, Okla.; Brian Peavy, db, Houston, Texas; Darius Lee-Campbell, qb, Spring, Texas.
Late addition: Willie Harvey, lb, Hastings, Fla., who picked Iowa State on Monday after decommitting from Southern Mississippi.
One that got away: Tommy Mister, rb, 6-0, 210, decommitted after Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads fired offensive coordinator Courtney Messingham and running backs coach Kenith Pope. Signed with Indiana.
NOTE: "He's a guy that will knock people's fillings loose. That's how he plays. He's productive. He shows up and plays very physical. He's got that mental approach to the game. He's very smart."—Rhoads on linebacker Jordan Harris.