Sure, caring is creepy. That's why we generally leave it to the Rivals/Scout guys. But once their signature goes on the dotted line of an Iowa letter of intent, caring ceases to be creepy and becomes essential. So, without further ado, your objects of affection and/or scorn (sometimes both at the same time) for the next four or five years. Finally, the walk-ons:
MARSHALL KOEHN (6'1", 175)
Solon (Solon, IA)
N/A Rivals, N/A Scout, 2* ESPN (72)
Because you can never, ever have enough kickers -- at least until you find one that routinely nails field goals and crushes the ball into the endzone on kickoffs. Alas, our efforts to clone Nate Kaeding continue to be ineffective. Of course, to be fair, Mike Meyer, Koehn's predecessor as "freshman walk-on kicker," didn't exactly have a bad freshman year: 14/17 field goals made, 31/33 extra points converted. But a little extra competition never hurts and there was a void on the roster in the "lovable walk-on kicker from a local high school" spot. Koehn hails from nearby Solon, the high school juggernaut that produced James Morris a year ago; he made 13/18 field goals and booted 45 of 82 kickoffs into the endzone for touchbacks. It would be a surprise to see him play as a freshman, but if he outperforms Meyer and Mossbrucker in practice, there's no reason to think he won't see action; placekicker is one position where Ferentz has shown very little loyalty to incumbents and those with seniority.
2011 Projection: Redshirt, unless AIRBHG turns his insatiable appetite to kickers.
Fun Fact: Koehn declined an offer to join the PBA to walk on at Iowa; he remains the 2nd-best bowler in southeast Iowa (behind Norm Parker, of course).
TRAVIS PERRY (6'3", 200)
Outside linebacker / Safety
Urbandale (Urbandale, IA)
2* Rivals, N/A Scout, 1* ESPN (61)
For a long time, Iowa has made a habit out of offering a scholarship to a talented but lightly-regarded in-state prospect late in the recruiting process. Technically speaking, many of the recipients are guys who would be classified as "fallback recruits," but many of these late additions have gone on to have excellent Iowa careers, such as Mike Elgin (2002, multi-year starter on the offensive line), Brandon Myers (2004, multi-year contributor at tight end), Brett Morse (2006, multi-year starter at fullback; technically from Illinois), Allan Reisner (2007, another multi-year contributor at tight end), and Tanner Miller (2010, already in the two-deeps at safety). It seemed like Perry was destined to be the next late addition like that... only he never got a scholarship offer. Still, Perry was undeterred; he turned down offers from UNI, Eastern Illinois, and South Dakota to walk on at Iowa. Like a handful of other guys in this class, Perry looks like a tweener right now, somewhere between a safety and an outside linebacker. Positional need and his reaction to college-level strength and conditioning will likely determine where he ends up.
2011 Projection: Redshirt, unless he proves to be an incredibly quick study and/or injuries leave us devoid of cover.
Fun Fact: Travis Perry has never dressed up as a sassy black woman in a movie, but he did play himself as an extra in William Shatner's cinematic masterpiece, Invasion Iowa.
And ... that's it, apparently. According to FOTP Mas Casa, two walk-ons may well be it for Iowa this year. That would be a little light in comparison to years past (they usually seem to take around 4-5), but it's possible they feel good with the roster as it is.
Speaking of the illustrious Mr. Morehouse, he did a three-part interview with Eric Johnson, Iowa's tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator (and the man who manages to get the Hawkeye twittersphere all worked up whenever he coyly mentions a commitment), and if you haven't read it yet, you really should.
Mika’il McCall was the first one to jump on board. He was a kid who was committed somewhere else. Came to a bunch of our games. So, we asked if he was sincerely interested in us. He said he was. So, we opened the door to recruit him at that time. He was a guy we felt very strongly about, but we wanted to do a little bit more research before we ended up offering him a scholarship. We felt comfortable offering and we feel he’s going to be a tremendous football player.
He really has deceptive speed. I don’t think people know how fast he really is. Good speed, power back. Reminds you of a guy we’ve had here before in that respect.
I'm sure he's referring to Marcus Schnoor.
Q: You’ve got a good thing going with DeMatha [Coker, Cooper and Lomax].
A: [Linebackers coach] Darrell Wilson has a reall good job nurturing that relationship with them. It started out Gilman last year with Jim Poggi and Ferguson and it’s continued with DeMatha and getting Coker out of there. It just keeps building now. That was a strong tie to begin with and then to get Nico Law to jump on board. He really did an excellent job of helping us recruit those Maryland guys, keeping us in the loop and helping out with Cooper and helping out with Lomax. And getting Quinton Alston to jump on board. He helped that way, too. They really developed a relationship a couple weeks ago. A bunch of those kids came in together and really became close.
Once you can get in and get some ties in those areas, it helps kids feel comfortable leaving and going somewhere they know people.
There's also an interesting story of the coaches consulting with Ray Hamilton and Henry Kriger-Coble before offering Jake Duzey because they'd already promised Hamilton and HKC that they'd only be taking two tight ends this class.
Q: What was the recruiting climate like this year? It’s always competitive, was it more sharky this year?
A: It even happened today, someone tried to nail us.
You just have to be careful what you say. You still have to compete on the field, too. It’s always a good practice. The less you say, the less you have to take back. We’ve had some things we’ve had to deal with off the field, and I think it’s a credit to coach Ferentz and our staff and our recruits for sticking with us. That again shows the strength of this class. We didn’t really lose anybody.
Johnson also discusses some of the potential benefits of having an early signing day in December later on.
Johnson also calls Darrell Wilson the staff MVP for his efforts this year (he signed seven of Iowa's 24 recruits, including Darian Cooper, Nico Law, Jordan Lomax, Quinton Alston, and John Raymon), which is certainly true. And Rivals agrees, too, naming him one of the twenty-five best recruiters this year. Kudos to Coach Wilson.