Earlier this week, Jon Miller, at Hawkeye Nation dot com, rolled out his "Hawk Stock" series and we took a look at fan expectations. His fourth part of the series analyzes Iowa's football recruiting. Jon looks at the barriers and the current and future impact.
I know, I know, caring is creepy. There's a reason multiple recruiting sites exist and make barrel loads of cash. For us fans recruiting equals the team's future and after 7-5 seasons it's what a lot of us have in which to pin our hope. Raise your hand if you're excited about Iowa basketball. Maybe not the way this year has started but because of the recruits that signed their letter of intent.
Wednesday I mentioned my expectations a bit. I wrote about how I believe roster management falls on the head coach. I also wrote that recruits aren't exactly beating down Iowa's door, that is unless they are offensive linemen. That may be changing.
Ferentz and company are using every chance they get to spread the word about Iowa's success molding professional football players.
The results are impressive, per Miller's piece,
Over the past two NFL drafts, only USC and Florida have seen more players drafted than Iowa. There are currently 35 former Hawkeyes on NFL rosters according to ESPN. That number ranks 8th nationally and second in the Big Ten behind Miami (FL), USC, Texas, Tennessee, Ohio State, Georgia and LSU.
It's remarkable really, considering (again, from Miller),
Iowa's recruiting classes have averaged seventh best in the Big Ten ranking since 2002
The Iowa to the NFL line is becoming a company slogan. It's marketing. And perhaps it's working.
Faith Ekakitie, who announced his verbal commitment to Iowa via his personal blog, wrote,
Another positive that may intrigue a lot of dline prospects interested in attending Iowa is the fact that for the past 6 years (I think), every single senior that has started for them on the defensive line has gone on to be drafted to the NFL. So for those d linemen aspiring to a football career after College, Iowa is definitely the place to be in the Midwest.
After 2002 Iowa had success recruiting offensive linemen. That makes sense because Ferentz is a former NFL offensive line coach and you had Steinbach, Nelsen, and Gallery in the NFL. That opened the door for Dan Doering, Dace Richardson, Mike Jones and Bryan Bulaga. All highly rated (by Rivals) and had several offers from around the nation. Iowa has continued to add highly regarded recruits. Andrew Donnal ('10), Jordan Walsh ('11) and this year Ryan Ward. But where's the impact on the other side of the ball?
Kenny Iwebema found a spot in the NFL. Bryan Mattison is still getting a paycheck, but as an offensive center. Jonathan Babineaux and Colin Cole are still getting paid, but it hasn't paid off for the defensive line. With Clayborn, Ballard and Klug all getting drafted last April and playing well perhaps this is the tipping point for recruiting that position.
With Ekakitie's verbal commitment he brings Iowa's total to two four-star (Rivals) defensive line recruits for the 2012 class. How important is that? Per Rivals, these two are the first four-star defensive recruits since, well, forever (I could only search as far back as 2008). Christian Ballard was a four-star, but as a tight end. A.J. Derby was a four-star listed as an "athlete", so I suppose he counts. I tried to think back, I remember Ed Miles was a four-star linebacker and then there was Kyle "Bonecrusher" Willams. I'm sure I've missed a few but still, that's not a lot.
These two recruits are important.
Both Ekakitie and Johnson are from the Chicago area and it may be too early to call this the tipping point for defensive line recruiting. It could be attributed to a coaching transition at Illinois, but the Zooker didn't have a four-star defensive recruit from Chicago the last two years. Hawk Central's Pat Harty spoke with Tom Lemming and he said Iowa is "doing better than anybody" recruiting the Chicago area. Lemming went on to discuss Iowa's possibilities with Jordan Diamond, a highly rated offensive tackle, and Tommy Schutt, a defensive tackle and top prospect in the state. Lemming believes this could be Iowa's best haul from Illinois since 2005.
December is prime-time for college football recruiting and we are in the middle of it. The Hawks received a verbal commitment from Ekakitie on Wednesday, another may happen as soon as next week. Saturday is Iowa's team banquet and the Hawks will host several recruits. It's the week before finals, the campus is still active and the team hasn't shifted fully into preparations for Oklahoma yet. I expect a few more "Have a seats" coming our way over the next couple weeks.
Hoops. It's Iowa at Iowa State tonight, yay. Senior point guard Bryce Cartwright is doubtful for tonight's game. Devyn Marble will start in Cartwright's place. McCaffery said of Marble's last start at PG, "he's getting better and better. I thought he was spectacular."
Iowa will have to have an answer for Iowa State's Royce White. He's averaging 14.8 points and 9.9 rebounds. McCaffery said it's not just White that concerns him, it's also "experienced, talented 3-point shooters." ISU began the season with Scott Christopherson at point guard but his productivity from beyond the three point line dropped and the Cyclones switched Chris Allen to point. Christopherson has moved to his natural shooting guard position.
Other links of interest:
- And Wisconsin's next free agent quarterback might be?
- Delany wants to keep the Rose Bowl
- Big Ten warning Penn State
- Steve Ferentz may walk-on to Iowa's football team
- Get to know the Sooners
- Iowa vs. Oklahoma, seventh best Bowl game?
- Mike Gesell video from last night's 35 point performance
- Illinois to hire Tim Beckman
- Insight and other Bowl gifts for players
- Marvin McNutt talks to ESPN's Adam Rittenberg
- 48 Fall Sport Hawkeyes earn Academic All-Big Ten
- Inside the numbers, Iowa at Iowa State hoops