How Myles Purchase's competitive spirit earned him a starting spot on Iowa State's defense

AMES — Iowa State sophomore Myles Purchase is a bit of an unassuming defensive back, at least based on stature alone.

At 5-foot-11 and 192 pounds, he isn’t the most physically imposing player on the field. But Purchase makes up for that with the level of play he’s brought to the Cyclones defense this season.

Purchase has 10 total tackles – including eight solo takedowns – through three games in 2022. That’s only four less than his total through 13 games last season, and it puts him third on the team behind seniors O’Rien Vance and Colby Reeder.

He’s also added two broken-up passes and one kick return for 26 yards.

And the highlight of the young season for Purchase: His five solo tackles against Iowa in the Cyclones' first Cy-Hawk football win since 2014.

“It feels good,” Purchase said. “Of course, I just wanted to play my role, do what I need to do to help the team win, and I’m glad I was put in a position to do that. So, rivalry game, but I’m gonna take it as every other game.”

Myles Purchase stands for a photo during Iowa State football media day at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames on Aug. 2.
Myles Purchase stands for a photo during Iowa State football media day at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames on Aug. 2.

It's that approach to the game that earned Purchase a starting spot on the Cyclones defense as a sophomore and left an early impression on head coach Matt Campbell.

But it isn’t much of a surprise that Purchase has performed well. Purchase comes from a Division I pedigree. His father, Bryan, played basketball at Colorado. His brother, Blake, is a four-star recruit who recently committed to Oregon. Myles was the 2020 MaxPreps High School Football Player of the Year for Colorado.

And he picked up at least part of his competitive drive from his high school coach, Dave Logan, who was drafted by teams in the MLB, NBA and NFL.

This is the kind of success that Campbell expected when Iowa State recruited Purchase.

“He has this elite competitor in him,” Campbell said. “You go back to his high school career …he’s a guy that was this incredible football player in all three phases of the game – offense, defense and special teams.”

Purchase's defensive back’s head coach sees those traits as well.

“What allowed him to get on the field as a true freshman a year ago was this elite competitor,” Campbell said. “He comes to work every day. He’s got those redeemable traits that you don’t have to lead Myles; Myles leads himself to become the best.”

Iowa running back Leshon Williams (4) is tackled by Iowa State defensive back Myles Purchase (5) during their Sept. 10 game at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City.
Iowa running back Leshon Williams (4) is tackled by Iowa State defensive back Myles Purchase (5) during their Sept. 10 game at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City.

So, what’s the biggest difference between last year and this season? Well, with a year of college football under his belt, Purchase said he is just more comfortable with Iowa State’s overall system and the Cyclones defense. He’s also quick to give credit to his coaches for giving him the opportunity to succeed.

“Our coaches have obviously put a lot of trust in me to be able to (be a starter) at the beginning of the season,” Purchase said. “I just want to uphold that trust, keep with the work I’ve been putting in and play consistent.”

Iowa State will need Purchase at his best for Saturday’s matchup against Baylor. The Cyclones have the top defense in the Big 12, allowing opponents to score an average of nine points. Baylor is fourth in the conference with an average of 14.3 points allowed per game.

“(The Bears are) gonna force you to defend the entire football field and I think it really down to discipline,” Campbell said.

Clemson wide receiver Beaux Collins (80) catches a pass above Iowa State defensive back Myles Purchase (15) during the third quarter of the Cheez-It Bowl in Orlando, Florida, on Dec. 29, 2021.
Clemson wide receiver Beaux Collins (80) catches a pass above Iowa State defensive back Myles Purchase (15) during the third quarter of the Cheez-It Bowl in Orlando, Florida, on Dec. 29, 2021.

It’s a challenge Purchase is ready for on Saturday. If he and the Iowa State defense can successfully hold off Baylor’s offense, the Cyclones have a shot at being 4-0 for the first time since 2000.

While that record would be a high note for Purchase, it’s not the focus. Win or lose, he just loves being a part of this defense.

“We all love being together,” Purchase said. “We love winning together. I just think we all love being a part of the team.

“We go into every game the same, prepare for every team the same way. Obviously want to start off on a good note. Baylor’s obviously a great team, but we think we’re a great team as well. I just want to show that by the way we play this weekend.”

Alyssa Hertel is the college sports recruiting reporter for the Des Moines Register. Contact Alyssa at ahertel@dmreg.com or on Twitter @AlyssaHertel.

This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: How Iowa State football's Myles Purchase could be impactful vs. Baylor