Lose a defensive coordinator, gain a cornerback recruit? Okay, so that's (definitely) not a fair trade-off, but for right now it's all we have. While Iowa football was preparing to say goodbye to legendary defensive coordinator Norm Parker on Sunday, it was also saying hello to Kevin Buford, a defensive back recruit out of Canton, Michigan. If Faith Ekakitie's commitment was slightly unusual for Iowa -- a splashy 4* recruit with offers from a who's who of BCS programs -- then Buford's commitment was considerably more typical for Iowa: he's a 3* recruit (from every service except Rivals, who slots him as a 2*) whose only non-Iowa offers were to MAC schools. In fact, he was a Toledo commit (until former Toledo head coach Tim Beckman switched to Illinois), but the Rockets' loss is the Hawkeyes' gain.
Mind you, no negative judgment on Buford's ability or potential is intended by making that distinction between he and Ekakitie -- they're simply Iowa's last two verbal commitments and, on a surface level, quite different (in terms of offers, star rankings, and recruiting hype). None of that means a thing once a player actually gets to campus and starts practicing and Buford can take heart in the fact that, on profile alone (undersized, unhyped, MAC recruit), he fits the bill of several of Iowa's past defensive back success stories (or, really, all of them; none of the numerous defensive backs Iowa has seen earn all-conference honors or head off to the NFL to ply their trade came to Iowa with substantial hype or recruiting plaudits).
ESPN cites his potential on both defense and in the return game, with special praise given for his ability to play zone defense (a must for a defensive back at Iowa). Of course, there are a few potential red flags, too: he doesn't have blazing fast speed (ESPN lists a 40 time for 4.62, although to be fair he seems to have plenty quick in those highlights*) and he's pretty small (ESPN, Rivals, and 247 all list him at 5-10, 170, and Scout goes even smaller -- 5-9, 165). That's Jovon Johnson size right there. Of course, Jovon Johnson also had an extraordinarily productive career at Iowa; if Buford has a career that mimics Johnson's, we'll be immensely pleased. Welcome aboard, Mr. Buford.
* Speaking of which, I'm absolutely fascinated by the fact that his high school team appears to run its entire offense out of the Power-T formation.