Montgomery, Butler turning pro


AP Sports Writer

AMES — Iowa State junior stars David Montgomery and Hakeem Butler are both leaving for the NFL.

Montgomery and Butler both announced Monday they are giving up their final years with the Cyclones to go pro.

Montgomery, a first-team All-Big 12 pick in each of the past two seasons, will seek to become the first Iowa State back to be drafted since Troy Davis in 1997. He ran for 1,216 yards and 13 touchdowns last season for the Cyclones, who finished 8-5 after losing to Washington State in the Alamo Bowl last month.

“The last three years have been nothing short of amazing,” Montgomery tweeted. “I could not have asked for anything better than my experience at Iowa State. It has truly been the best decision of my life.”

The 5-foot-11, 216-pound Cincinnati native seized the starting job late in 2016, and in 2017 he had 1,146 yards and 11 TDs on the ground. Montgomery was third in the Big 12 and 23rd nationally in rushing in 2018, and he reached the 100-yard mark seven times.

The 6-foot-6, 225-pound Butler had 60 catches for a new program record 1,318 receiving yards in 2018. Butler hauled in nine touchdowns.

“Thank you Cyclone Nation,” Butler said in a social media post on Monday night. “You’ve helped me out greatly and I’m so thankful for everything that you guys have done for me.

“You gave me a chance to be more than a football player and become a part of a huge family that I will forever be a part of. The way you guys have backed me and my teammates is something I will cherish forever.”

Most mock drafts have Butler being taken in either the first, second or third round.

Montgomery was also instrumental in changing the culture at Iowa State under third-year coach Matt Campbell, who said that Montgomery will go down as one of the greatest players in school history

“The impact David had on the Iowa State football program, this university, and our great community is impossible to quantify,” Campbell said. “But his legacy will extend far beyond the field.”

Montgomery ranks sixth in career rushing yards (2,925) at Iowa State, third in 100-yard rushing games (15) and eighth with 26 touchdowns on the ground. Montgomery also caught 71 passes, fifth-best among Iowa State backs.

Veterans Kene Nwangwu, Johnnie Lang and Sheldon Croney will all get a chance at replacing Montgomery as the starter. Four-star recruits Jirehl Brock and Breece Hall could eventually take over Montgomery’s carries, perhaps as soon as next season.