Signing Day Rodeo, Part One: The Headliners

We've said it before: When it comes to recruiting, caring is creepy.  With that said, it's National Signing Day, and ignoring recruiting on Signing Day is a violation of the Fourth Blogmandment (it's the one between "Thou Shalt Demand the Firing of the Coach After Every Loss" and "Thou Shalt Not Covet Seth Olsen's Wife").  Iowa is set to add 18-20 players to the roster today.  Here's what we know about the Class of 2009:

Brandon Wegher (5'11", 206, RB, Sioux City Heelan)
4* Scout, 4* Rivals, 79/100 ESPN

 

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the most highly-regarded incoming Iowa halfback since Jermelle Lewis.  Brandon Wegher comes to campus fresh off a 3A state championship, and burdened with all the expectations of a fanbase desperate for a Tim Dwight sequel.

First, on that high school championship: It's not as if Wegher was a part of the Heelan offense; he was the offense.  He ran for 3,238 yards (all-time Iowa record) on 362 carries, caught 9 passes for another 110, racked up 54 touchdowns (another all-time Iowa record), and kicked the field goals for good measure.  The Legend of Brandon Wegher was already well-known in western Iowa entering this season, but any doubt about his ability left the building two weeks into the season.  Harlan entered its game with Sioux City Heelan as the traditional 3A football powerhouse, with a win over Heelan in the prior season.  Wegher dropped 330 yards on them.  Nobody even came close to beating Heelan the rest of the way.  Heelan's playoff run generated some of the most hyperbolic newspaper writing of the year.  After their semifinal win over Clear Lake, the Omaha World Herald's Kevin White wrote:

Brandon Wegher carried 24 times for 183 yards and three touchdowns, kicked a 42-yard field goal and booted four kickoffs for touchbacks. Then he went to the locker room.

For the half.

Needless to say, Iowa wasn't the only program vying for Wegher's services.  He fielded offers from Penn State, Nebraska, Auburn, Kansas, Illinois, Texas Tech, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.  Say what you will about Reese Morgan's abilities as an offensive line coach (and we have), but in this red-letter year for in-state recruiting, he certainly earned his salary.  Until you've actually lived in western Iowa, where Omaha newspapers and television are king and Nebraska football gets far better coverage than Iowa, you can't understand the pull of Lincoln.  Credit then goes to Morgan, who is in charge of recruiting in Iowa and Nebraska, for convincing one of the best players from western Iowa in years that he was made to be a Hawkeye.

Keenan Davis (6'3", 200, WR Cedar Rapids Washington)
4* Scout, 4* Rivals, 81/100 ESPN

He's already the third-best basketball player on campus...


Overlooked in all the talk of "Best In-State Recruiting Year in a Generation OMG" is the unusual number of high-caliber skill position players in Iowa.  You can always count on Iowa to produce 1-2 DI-caliber linemen on each side of the ball, and a multitude of projects.  Not nearly as often do you see a halfback and two bona fide wideouts in the talent pool.

In any case, Keenan Davis is the second highly-coveted in-state skill position player reeled in by Reese Morgan.  In choosing Iowa, Davis turned down offers from Oklahoma, Illinois, Wisconsin, Arizona State, and most of the Big XII North.  After posting 850 yards receiving in 7 games (Davis missed 6 games with a leg injury), he played in the Under Armour All-American Game and, by all accounts, held his own.  He's also a member of the defending 4A state champion 4x200 team.  Of all the incoming freshmen, Davis might have the best change to contribute immediately; with Brodell gone and Stross injured (at least, I'm assuming he's injured), KOK will be in desparate need of receivers.

Jordan Cotton (6'1", 170, WR/ATH, Mt. Pleasant)
3* Scout, 3* Rivals, 78/100 ESPN


But he jumped over a guy!

Of the big-time in-state recruits, Cotton always seemed most likely to choose Iowa.  Cotton's dad played halfback for the Hawks, his offer list (Wisconsin, Kansas, the CLOLnes) wasn't quite as deep as the others, and Cotton had listed Iowa as his favorite since last spring.  Still, Cotton's commitment - which came on the heels of the David Barrent decommit - was instrumental in changing the momentum of a program in crisis and convincing players like Wegher and Davis that Iowa was still the place to be.

Cotton played halfback through most of high school, but projects as a receiver in college.  He split time between the two positions as a senior, rushing for 1575 yards and 25 touchdowns, and tacking on 29 catches for 374 and 5 more scores.  He has the size to play receiver (though he might need a few more pounds to play immediately) and he's a legitimate track star (he has an open invitation to join the team as a sprinter), so he could see the field sooner rather than later.

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