Caring Is Creepy 2012: Have a Seat, Nate Meier

In-between poaching a quarterback from SEC territory for the second straight year and making a rare trip out west to add another 4* prospect to the offensive line, Iowa found time to do a little work around the homefront in Recruiting Quest 2k12, grabbing Nate Meier out of Fremont-Mills High School in Tabor, Iowa. (If you have no clue where Tabor is -- don't feel bad because I didn't -- it's in the southwestern corner of the state.) Meier was a superstar in the 8-man ranks* last year, leading Fremont-Mills to a state title (they won the state final 81-0) and put up the sort of stats that would be hard to replicate on EA's NCAA Football series even at the Junior Varsity setting: 2494 yards rushing and 57 touchdowns, plus 112 tackles (34 TFL) and 11 sacks. That's phenomenal production, albeit against one of the lower levels of competition. That "lower levels of competition" caveat plus his lack of other big-time offers (he chose Iowa over South Dakota and UNI and was reportedly considering a walk-on offer to Iowa as recently as a week or two ago) are the biggest reasons that he's a consensus 2* recruit.

* ZOMG just like Chad Greenway! (Almost -- Greenway played 9-man football in South Dakota.) If he's half the player Greenway was for Iowa, we should be inordinately pleased. But, please, let's not expect him to be an all-Big Ten standout and future NFL first round draft pick just because his prep background contains a superficial similarity to Greenway's own background. He's a 2* prospect offered less than a week from Signing Day -- as a recruit, he is the very definition of a "flier."

Meier has good size (6-2, 235) and a listed 40 time of 4.6. What he doesn't have is a clearly defined position at the next level.

He said he’s being recruited as a running back, but he also said that could change. Iowa is looking at him as a running back, fullback, linebacker and defensive end.

"I’m being recruited as a running back, but they said with my size and my speed, I could fit in at a couple places," Meier said. "I could play running back, fullback, linebacker, or rush end. I like running back, but I want to get on the field as fast I can, so wherever I can do that is where I want to play."

Mr. Optimist says he's versatile and has the ability to plug a variety of holes for Iowa. Mr. Pessimist says he's a perpetual tweener and a man without a set position destined to bounce from one slot to another without ever making a big impact anywhere. But let's briefly examine his prospects at each position.

Running back offers perhaps the clearest path to playing time, given AIRBHG's annual clearout of the top of the depth chart, but while the idea of a 6-2, 235 bowling ball stampeding through B1G defenses is fun, he may not have the quicks to do much at RB. Size-wise, he seems like a good fit for FB, but the depth chart there is already clogged with names as well as a very good incumbent starter (Brad Rogers). The depth chart at DE is even more barren than at RB, but he might be a little too slight to be a factor there, at least in the short term. There's more of a bottleneck at LB, although beyond James Morris, Christian Kirksey, and Anthony Hitchens, very little is settled. I suspect that in the short term his future is on special teams and as an emergency linebacker. But it wouldn't surprise me at all if he was lining up with a hand down at DE in a year or two.

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