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.
First up, the guys in the backfield:
Scottsdale (AZ) Comm. College
3* Rivals, 2* Scout, N/R ESPN, 3* 24/7
You Might Remember Him from Such Posts As: Have a Seat, Cody Sokol
Oh yeah: The long hair. The black earrings. That come hither stare. In the teen movie that is Iowa football, Cody Sokol is the new kid in town, the rebel loner with a cannon for an arm. Maybe he brings along his surfboard, only to find there's no surfing in Iowa.
As for on the field, Sokol has the size and arm to compete immediately. You know who else had those athletic qualities? Brad Banks and Nate Chandler, who both spent a year on the bench before starting as seniors, and we expect the same from Sokol. He's already on campus and will compete in spring practice. If April ends with him on the depth chart, it will say a lot about what the staff thinks of its current crop of quarterbacks. If September starts with Sokol in a redshirt, it will say a lot about what the staff thinks of Jake Rudock. And, I suppose, of Sokol, as well.
2012 Outlook: Riding pine, though probably without a redshirt, with every expectation to compete for the starting job in 2013.
Fun Fact: Cody's roommates at Scottsdale were two guys named Scott and one guy named Dale.
Battle Ground Academy (Franklin, TN)
3* Rivals, 2* Scout, 3* ESPN, 3* 24/7
You Might Remember Him From Such Posts As: This one from two days ago.
Quarterback recruiting is a different animal from other recruiting. Generally, the top quarterbacks line up like dominoes, each with contingent offers based on the decisions of the one rater higher. One quarterback commits, and the dominoes fall. Iowa's never actively recruited in that system, opting instead for uncovering diamonds like Jake Rudock and Ricky Stanzi, going into the JUCO ranks, and picking off late decommits like Drew Tate. Beathard might look like Stanzi, but he falls into that Drew Tate category. Beathard changed his mind from Ole Miss in the last week before Signing Day, visited Iowa City over the weekend, and committed to Iowa Monday. His reward: A season spent lifting weights and making funny hand signals on the sideline next to a bespectacled Ken O'Keefe.
2012 Outlook: Redshirt.
Fun Fact: His dad was the general manager of the Washington Redskins in the 80's and the San Diego Chargers in the 90's. This makes C.J. Beathard the first person to have an actual fact used as his Creepypalooza Fun Fact.
McDowell HS (Erie, PA)
4* Rivals, 4* Scout, 4* ESPN, 4* 24/7
You Might Remember Him From Such Posts As: Have a Seat, Greg Garmon
It's become a broken record, but Garmon will be the immediate favorite at starting halfback the moment he steps on campus. On the three recruiting sites that break down star rating into a more precise 100-point measure (everyone but Scout), Garmon is or is tied with another player for best recruit of the class, and he steps into a position decimated by attrition. Garmon can run the ball. His fake 40 came in at 4.4. His tape shows a guy willing to run around, past, or through every defender in his way (even if he's a bit upright while running, especially for a guy who is 6'2"). His motivation for coming to Iowa was, in part, watching Shonn Greene. The question, as with every incoming freshman halfback, is whether he can block. If he picks up the blitz, the job is his.
2012 Outlook: On the field by the fourth series of Northern Illinois. Starting by Northern Iowa.
Fun Fact: First player to successfully overcome Kirk Ferentz's superstitious aversion to the letter G.
Cedar Falls (IA) HS
3* Rivals, 2* Scout, 2* ESPN, 3* 24/7
You Might Remember Him From Such Posts As: Have a Seat, Barkley Hill
Seriously, Reese Morgan is the Iowa High School Football Player Whisperer. He couldn't get Amara Darboh away from Michigan this year, but Morgan somehow took a halfback that had been committed to Iowa State for over a year (despite having an Iowa offer for virtually the entire time since that commitment), convinced him to make a last-minute visit to Iowa City just to see what he would be missing, and sent Hill home a couple of days later to break the bad news to Paul Rhoads. Not the speed threat that Garmon will be, but makes up for it with vision. Hill's coming to Iowa City for the opportunity to play early, and he will have every chance to cash that briefcase in as soon as he gets here. And, knowing how our halfbacks end up, he'll still have a year or two of eligibility to use in Ames just as soon as he's done here.
2012 Outlook: Probably won't be on the depth chart. Probably will see the field plenty, though. Third halfback and special teams seems about right.
Fun Fact: There used to be a Barkley Hill in Phoenix, formed when a pre-Weight Watchers Charles Barkley would take a nap in the street. One time, Dan Majerle climbed it, planted a flag, and claimed Barkey Hill "in the name of the King of Thundertown!"
Jerome HS (Dublin, OH)
3* Rivals, 3* Scout, 3* ESPN, 3* 24/7
You Might Remember Him From Such Posts As: Have a Seat, Cameron Wilson
Wilson's interesting. Fourteen FBS offers, with enough receiving talent to get an offer from Dana Holgorsen and enough smarts to draw one from Vanderbilt. He's big (6'2", 190) and fast (4.49 fake 40) and productive (2600 yards receiving and 21 touchdowns in his high school career), but he also saw his production fall precipitously as a senior; according to Rivals, his team basically just inexplicably stopped throwing the ball.* So, with that experience, he'll fit in fine here. As it is, he spent most of his senior year blocking defensive backs, which means he should be ready to contribute early on. The wide receiver depth chart isn't nearly as bad as halfback, and Iowa has two de facto starters returning, but Wilson should see situational duty and, depending on how Iowa responds to yet another crisis in the backfield, perhaps much more.
* -- Wilson's team stopped passing because it has one hell of a halfback: Donovan Wilson, his younger brother, who has already made an unofficial visit to Iowa and has an offer from Purdue on the table. No word yet on whether there's a package deal in play, but it's an interesting scenario for 2013. That is, if you're into that sort of thing.
2012 Outlook: Jordan Cotton is still larval, and Steven Staggs allegedly has a scholarship now, so I'll tentatively say he plays sparingly or redshirts. But Wilson should have every chance of breaking into the two-deep if he hits the ground running in August.
Fun Fact: At the end of every high school practice, Wilson would wander to a nearby fence and, peering over the top so that only his eyes and helmet could be seen, would dispense folksy advice on life and love to the kids in shop class.
Calvary Christian Academy (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)
3* Rivals, 2* Scout, 2* ESPN, 3* 24/7
You Might Remember Him From Such Posts As: Have a Seat, Greg Mabin
Dallas Clark. Chad Greenway. Robert Gallery. Dominic Alvis. Iowa has a history of grabbing small-school players and turning them into stars (or at least starters), and will try to do the same with Mabin, a lightly-regarded product of Florida's smallest high school division. Mabin's tape, which begins with a kick return, ends with a post pattern, and in between shows that Calvary's offensive philosophy was "Get the ball to Greg Fucking Mabin", is as impressive as you'll see this year. It also shows little more than that he was much, much bigger and much, much faster than his competition. It gets so bad that Daniel Bryan and the Bella Twins show up halfway through to tell Greg how bullying is bad and should not be tolerated ("Be a star, Greg. Be a star." -- B. Bella) The tape is reminiscent, in many ways, of another small-school find that came to Iowa and wowed us with highlights: The legendary Casey McMillan.
2012 Outlook: As good as the tape is, it's going to take Mabin at least one season to get used to the speed of actual football. Forget 2012, and 2013 is doubtful.
Fun Fact: Was the host of a public access game show called "Yes! No! Mabin!"
Kent School (Kent, CT)/Toronto, Canada (!)
3* Rivals, 3* Scout, 3* ESPN, 3* 24/7
You Might Remember Him From Such Posts As: Have a Seat, Tevaun Smith
THE CANADIAN MISSILE! Smith is another 6'2", 190 pound receiver with a 4.4 fake 40 and a coulple of middling offers (UConn and Temple). Easy pickings for Soup Campbell. Canadians love soup, after all. He looks pretty raw at this point, even though he spent a year in prep school after defecting from the provinces. While at the Kent School, Smith also played wildcat quarterback, so we can surely expect Ken O'Keefe to install...pfffhahaha he'll be running end arounds for the next five years.
2012 Outlook: Probably redshirt, unless that speed is for real. Iowa does need a deep threat.
Fun Fact: That 4.4 40 time isn't adjusted for the exchange rate; in American time, it's damn near 5.
Bridgeport (WV) HS
2* Rivals, 3* Scout, 2* ESPN, 2* 24/7
You Might Remember Him From Such Posts As: Have a Seat, Connor Kornbrath
Marshall Koehn. Trent Mossbrucker. Jonny Mullings. Mike Meyer. And now Connor Kornbrath joins Kirk Ferentz's pickup basketball team of kicking specialists. Kornbrath has the leg: He's got field goal range from beyond 50 yards and left opponents taking a knee on kickoffs more often than not. He is also an accomplished punter, and has the quick punting motion that Mullings allegedly lacks. For all the hand-wringing over Iowa special teams, punter hasn't been an issue in more than five years; if Kornbrath steps into that open role and handles kickoffs (and gets the Hawkeyes a few more touchbacks than the three they had in 2011), the sky's the limit.
2012 Outlook: I'm going to go ahead and say it: Starting punter.
Fun Fact: Was the lead singer of a short-lived Korn cover band named Kornbrath, hence the last name.