CREEPYPALOOZA 2012: Linebackers, Defensive Backs, and Centaurs*

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.

MAURICE (REESE) FLEMING, JR.
Defensive Back
Curie Metropolitan HS (Chicago, IL)
3* Rivals, 3* Scout, 4* ESPN, 3* 24/7 Sports

You Might Remember Him From Such Posts As: Have A Seat, Reese Fleming

Fleming was one of the earliest recruits to verbal to Iowa in this class and, in many ways, one of the most important. A knee injury robbed him of most of his senior season and may delay his on-field debut at Iowa (he tore an ACL, so when we'll see him in black and gold is TBD), but he put his time off to good use: he rehabbed like a demon and (more importantly) recruited the hell out of fellow Chicago-area kids on Iowa's behalf. We've seen this before: Jake Christensen was the Pied Piper to several Chicago-area kids in the vaunted 2005 recruiting class and Nico Law helped sway a few D.C.-area prospects Iowa's way a year ago. It's always nice to see kids who are already that invested in the Iowa program.

Fleming looks like a potential difference-maker on the field, too. He has good size, some great highlights (available at the link above or at the excellent GoHawks blog), and he plays a position (defensive back) that's far from settled right now. He could fill out and become a safety alongside Nico Law or he could develop into a cornerback and replace Micah Hyde in a year. Fleming has also talked frequently about playing both ways and while that sort of thing is basically unheard of at Iowa... it's a fun idea to ponder (especially when you see how good he looks with the ball in his hands in the highlight vids). We wish a full and speedy recovery to Fleming and look forward to seeing him on the field, hopefully sometime soon.

2012 Outlook: Redshirt if he's not fully healed; Special Teams if he's healthy

Fun Fact: While his high school's nickname was the Condors, as a long-time Spider-Man fan Fleming has always fancied himself as more of a Vulture man.

LARON TAYLOR
Linebacker
Cass Technical HS (Detroit, MI)
2* Rivals, 3* Scout, 3* ESPN, 3* 24/7 Sports

You Might Remember Him From Such Posts As: Have A Seat, Laron Taylor

Taylor is something of an oddity in this class: he might be the only linebacker in the entire crop (depending on where Nate Meier ends up), which is unusual given Iowa's predilection towards loading up on linebackers and transforming them into players at other positions if needed. But there were ten freshman or sophomore scholarship linebackers on the Iowa roster last year, so there wasn't an immense need for linebackers in this class. Taylor represents the latest in the trend of smaller, quicker linebackers that Iowa has been targeting of late (6-0, 200). Given the logjam ahead of him, he should have time to bulk up a little before he needs to see the field.

2012 Outlook: Redshirt

Fun Fact: His high school renamed itself after the ancient Greek oracle Cassandra after an earlier name in honor of the ancient Greek queen Clytemnestra proved to have a disastrous nickname.

NATE MEIER
Linebacker/Defensive End/Running Back/Fullback
Fremont-Mills HS (Tabor, IA)
2* Rivals, 2* Scout, NR ESPN, 2* 24/7 Sports

You Might Remember Him From Such Posts As: This post yesterday.

We literally just profiled him yesterday, so he should still be pretty fresh in everyone's memory boxes. He's a prototypical late-period Iowa recruit: an under-the-radar prospect with few other offers. Meier has hugely impressive highlights and has drawn raves from several people who've seen him play (lots of "man amongst boys" comments), but the question is just how much of his dominance is from his own abilities and how much is from playing severely overmatched competition (he played 8-man football in Iowa the last two seasons). There's also the question of just where he plays when he gets here, since he's openly admitted the coaches are looking at him for almost every position except quarterback or punter. I listed him here because I think he starts out as a linebacker, but that's by no means guaranteed. The hope is that he's able to find a position and settle in quickly and that he doesn't float from one position to another every year. It would be a mistake to expect much from him in the short term, but he's an intriguing name to keep an eye on for the next few years.

2012 Outlook: Special Teams or redshirt

Fun Fact: Led an unsuccessful lobbying effort to get more 8-man football games televised by ESPN8.

KEVIN BUFORD
Defensive Back
Canton HS (Canton, MI)
2* Rivals, 3* Scout, 3* ESPN, 3* 24/7 Sports

You Might Remember Him From Such Posts As: Have A Seat, Kevin Buford

A tiny defensive back with MAC-level offers and without blazing speed? Why hello Jovon Johnson 2.0. Admittedly, that's pretty much the best-case scenario for Buford -- and one that we would be just fine with, particularly if Buford has half the ballhawking skills that Jovon displayed at Iowa. Buford is Iowa's latest theft from a MAC program (Toledo, in this case), and what he lacks in size (he's around 5-10, 170) he (hopefully) makes up for in his ability to play zone defense. Iowa has recruited pretty well at defensive back over the last few years so it might be hard for Buford to crack the two-deeps. Then again, he wouldn't be the first undersized, heady defensive back here to win the coaches' favor of a more heralded and "athletic" prospect.

2012 Outlook: Redshirt

Fun Fact: His family name used to be Smithwick, but his grandfather was a really big Walking Tall fan.

RUBEN LILE
Defensive Back/Wide Receiver
Cass Technical HS (Detroit, MI)
3* Rivals, 3* Scout, 3* ESPN, 3* 24/7 Sports

You Might Remember Him From Such Posts As: Have A Seat, Ruben Lile

Lile verbaled to Iowa a few weeks after friend and teammate Laron Taylor did, leading to some speculation that they were a package deal. If they were, Lile was arguably the slightly bigger get: his star ratings were a little better and his offers were a touch more impressive (he chose Iowa over Wisconsin, Purdue, Vanderbilt, Cincinnati and a host of MAC schools, while Taylor just had the Cincy and MAC offers). In any event, Lile (whose ESPN profile had the immortal description of "This guy is a pretty good football player.") is far from a guarantee to play in the defensive backfield here. He's listed as just an Athlete by several sites and said that the Iowa coaches would let him pick which side of the ball he wanted to play on when he got to Iowa. As of late August, he was leaning safety because that seemed to be a quicker route to playing time; there might actually be a bigger need for him at wide receiver, though, given the uncertainty at that position after Keenan Davis and Kevonte Martin-Manley. Iowa's late success at adding defensive back commitments might make it easier to switch him to the offensive side of the ball, too.

2012 Outlook: Special Teams or redshirt

Fun Fact: He claims to have never eaten a reuben sandwich before, mainly because it seemed a bit like cannibalism.

ANTHONY GAIR (MORGAN)
Defensive Back
Prestonwood Christian HS( Plano, TX)
3* Rivals, 3* Scout, 3* ESPN, 3* 24/7 Sports

You Might Remember Him From Such Posts As: Have A Seat, Anthony Morgan

The recruit formerly known as Anthony Morgan (he's now going by Anthony Gair, apparently) hooked up with Iowa shortly after Kevin Buford did in December and unlike several of the recruits in this post, Gair appears to have a position lined up at Iowa: safety. Whether that's free safety or strong safety is still unknown, but safety is what he played in high school and safety is what all the recruiting services listed him at, so safety is what he's likely to play at Iowa. He has pretty good size for a safety (6-2, 190) and has already drawn praise for his ability in run support. Given the bounty of young options Iowa has at safety, it might be nice if Gair could redshirt in 2012 to preserve a bit more of his eligibility, but that's far from certain. While Iowa has ample options at safety, they don't have much in the way of proven options there -- and even if time at safety is off the table, if Gair can contribute on special teams, he'll undoubtedly see time there.

2012 Outlook: Special Teams

Fun Fact: He always thought it was a little perverse that his school's mascot was the Lions, what with Christians and Lions being Biblical adversaries and all.

SEAN DRAPER
Defensive Back
Glenville HS (Cleveland, OH)
3* Rivals, 3* Scout, 3* ESPN, 3* 24/7 Sports

You Might Remember Him From Such Posts As: Um, none because we just found out about his commitment yesterday.

Draper (whose commitment might excite us more than anyone else's in this class, since it gives us an easy outlet for Mad Men jokes for the next four years) made the decision to come to Iowa Monday night and planned to announce it this morning, only for that decision to leak out yesterday. Draper arrives at Iowa from Glenville HS in Cleveland, the football factory that produced Ted Ginn, Jr. and several other standout players in recent years and becomes another intriguing option at cornerback. He has some nice highlights and -- BONUS! -- he already has experience making big plays in the Horseshoe.

2012 Outlook: Special Teams or redshirt

Fun Fact: He prefers a nice Manhattan, but he'll drink an Old Fashioned in a pinch.

DINERO MOSS
Defensive Back
Piper HS (Sunrise, FL)
3* Rivals, 2* Scout, 3* ESPN, 3* 24/7 Sports

You Might Remember Him From Such Posts As: None because he just flipped from the LOLphers this morning.

Three things we know about Dinero Moss: (1) he has an awesome name, (2) he's another cornerback prospect, and (3) he clearly has impeccable taste (he switched his Minnesota commitment to Iowa this morning). Other things we know about Moss? Um, nothing. He had been a Gopher commit since last June and all of the recruiting sites listed him as a "hard verbal" to Minnesota. There wasn't even a sniff of him considering Iowa. Clearly, something happened at the eleventh hour to change his mind. We're happy to have him aboard, but to say that he's a mystery recruit is an understatement. But hooray for sticking it to Minnesota!

2012 Outlook: Special Teams or redshirt

Fun Fact: Is fond of yelling out "STRAIGHT DINERO, HOMIE" after making a big play.

EDIT: Or not. Turns out he's just headed to Ellsworth Community College in Iowa:

@HawkeyeInsider '12 FL CB Dinero Moss Confirmed via Text that He's headed to Ellsworth CC in #Iowa, not to #Hawkeyes.

* Still no centaurs yet this year, but fingers crossed that this is the year Reese Morgan finally comes through on that front.

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