The commitments of Sean Welsh, Andre Harris, Solomon Warfield, Ike Boettger, and Trevon Young over the weekend bring Iowa's tally of verbal commits for the class of 2013 up to a whopping 15 -- and it's not even July yet. Of course, we can't keep accepting commits indefinitely -- Iowa
isn't in the SEC can still only offer a finite number of scholarships. At max, that's 25, although this class probably won't be that big. Iowa's senior class currently only numbers 15, which would mean Iowa could only bring in a rather small class in 2013 (and that we'd be done accepting commits now, too). But attrition is a fact of life for college programs (especially at Iowa), so I'm guessing the final size of this year's class will end up being around 20, which is pretty typical. Iowa signed 24 recruits in 2012, 25 recruits in 2011, 22 recruits in 2010, and 20 in 2009. So how might Iowa fill those remaining spots? Let's take a look at how things break down.
NOTE: If you missed any commit profiles over the last week (and it's OK if you did -- there have been a bunch), check out the profiles below labeled "NEW."
Iowa rarely adds more than one quarterback per class (unless there's a pressing need on the depth chart; see: last year) and they already have a commit from Nic Shimonek out of Texas. They're done recruiting quarterbacks this year.
Surprisingly, Iowa has zero running back commits so far in the class of 2013. Perhaps AIRBHG is finally spreading his insidious tentacles into Iowa's recruiting now, too. It's rare for most programs to not add at least one running back a year in recruiting, given the turnover at the position. Considering Iowa is not exactly "most programs" when it comes to running back attrition, it's downright suicidal to not add at least one running back per class. Doing that is how you end up with Paki O'Meara as your starting running back on opening day.
Iowa has five running backs under scholarship right now (which would drop to four if Greg Garmon never makes it to campus; I have no information one way or the other, but I've learned to expect the worst where Iowa running backs are concerned); I have to believe that they're going to be adding to that number in this class. There will probably 1-2 running backs in this class. The best bets right now appear to be a pair of 3* backs, Berkley Edwards (brother of Braylon Edwards) and Zaire Williams.
Despite adding four receivers a year ago, receiver has remained a point of emphasis in this year's recruiting. In part, that's a function of numbers -- not counting the incoming freshmen, there are only four non-senior receivers on Iowa's 2012 roster: Jordan Cotton (JR), Don Shumpert (JR), Kevonte Martin-Manley (SO), and Jacob Hillyer (rFR). Cotton and Shumpert have had very quiet Iowa careers to this point and this could easily be a bit of a make-or-break year for them. KMM had a promising freshman season and will look to build on that this fall. But there should be opportunities aplenty for receivers in Greg Davis' offense, especially if you're fast.
Speed has been the name of the game in receiver recruiting this year. The lack of it among current receivers has been something that Davis has harped on since arriving in Iowa City and the three verbal commits -- Willies, Mitchell, and Harris -- all have (fake) 40 times in the 4.4 range. With three likely receivers coming in (although Harris and Mitchell could also find themselves in the defensive backfield) and four signed a year ago, Iowa probably isn't looking for too many more receivers this year -- although if the right guy is available, I suspect they'll take him. It would not surprise me to see some turnover in the receiver ranks over the course of the next year as it becomes clear which receivers have what it takes to earn playing time (and which receivers are likely to warm the bench instead). The top remaining target here seems to be Dan Monteroso out of Ohio.
Until this weekend, Iowa was batting 0-fer on the tight end front, which was a little odd given Iowa's stellar recent history at the position. Cedar Falls QB Ike Boettger verbaled to Iowa on Sunday, though, giving Iowa a (likely) tight end in this year's crop of recruits. Like several of Iowa's recent tight ends (George Kittle, Jake Duzey, Henry Krieger-Coble), Boettger is a bit of a developmental tight end -- it's going to take time for him to learn the nuances of the position and to build his body. Iowa's also never been shy about taking tight end-types in recruiting because they can often be transformed into another position -- if they're good at hitting dudes send 'em over to linebacker and if they're particularly adept at blocking, add another 40 lbs. and turn 'em into an offensive lineman. So Iowa could definitely still add another tight end; the top target at the moment is West Des Moines Dowling's Jon Wisnieski (who actually seems to like Iowa, unlike several of his WDM Valley colleagues).
Iowa's has a pair of offensive linemen in the 2013 class, but both guys (Goebel and Welsh) project as interior linemen. They really probably need to add at least one offensive tackle prospect in this year's class -- if they don't, they'll have recruited just two likely tackle prospects (Ryan Ward and Mitch Keppy, both Class of 2012 recruits) in the last three recruiting classes. That could be putting a lot of eggs in the Ward and Keppy baskets. They might very well turn out to be three-year starters and able bookends to Iowa's line, but options are nice. Depth is nice. Iowa also probably needs to add more offensive line prospects just to keep the numbers up -- they lose three offensive linemen after this season (J Ferentz, Tobin, C McMillan) and another four after next season (N MacMillan, Clark, Van Sloten, Boffeli). Including Goebel and Welsh, they'd only have nine offensive linemen under scholarship at that point. That's pretty low for a position where you're playing five guys at any given time. The top tackle prospect appears to be Thomas Shoaf out of Indiana.
Defensive line has been a major priority for three years running, mainly due to the absurd defensive line attrition from several classes a few years ago (that attrition is why we currently have all of three defensive linemen who are juniors or seniors: Dominic Alvis, Steve Bigach, and Joe Gaglione). Iowa added five defensive linemen last year and four in 2011. This year they have three verbal commits from defensive line prospects (although Trevon Young, listed at LB for now, seems pretty likely to be groomed as a defensive end) and they've indicated that they're full-up at defensive tackle (which may be by WDM Valley prospect Sam Raridon headed for Badger-ville). If we include Young, Iowa has four defensive line recruits, which is probably as many as they're really looking to take this year. If a blue-chip defensive line prospect dropped into their laps, I think they'd take it, but I don't think they're actively pursuing more defensive linemen right now.
Like I said above, Young is listed as a LB for now, but it seems to be a foregone conclusion that he'll be eventually moving to defensive end if he can put on weight without harming his natural speed and athleticism. If Young does move to the defensive front four, that leaves John Kenny as Iowa's lone linebacker recruit in 2013. They added just two linebackers a year ago (Nate Meier and Laron Taylor), so they're probably not looking to add just one LB this year. They should add one (maybe two) additional linebackers this year; unfortunately, there don't seem to be any top targets at the moment.
Iowa's added three defensive backs in the 2013 class. Two of them (Hill and Warfield) project as safeties, while the third (Rucker) could play either safety or cornerback, but seems to be starting out at corner. After taking four defensive backs apiece in the 2011 and 2012 classes, Iowa might be pretty much done at this position in 2013, although they could also look to add one more defensive back. Joshua Jones, a safety out of Michigan, appears to be the top remaining target at the moment.
To Kirk Ferentz's deep and abiding regret, Iowa has not offered either a kicker or a punter a scholarship for the 2013 class -- and that probably won't change before Signing Day in February. Alas.
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In addition to the odd position here and there (coughcoughRUNNINGBACKcoughcough), the most notable thing missing from this crop of recruits is standout star rankings. It's no surprise that Iowa doesn't have any 5* recruits in this class (the last 5* recruit signed by Iowa was Dan Doering in 2005), but it is a bit surprising that they have only one 4* recruit, David Kenney (who was actually the first member of Iowa's 2013 recruiting class, in the long ago days of early April). The last time Iowa had fewer than four 4* recruits was the class of 2009, which had two (Brandon Wegher and Keenan Davis). The last class with zero 4* recruits was the class of 2008. Stars aren't everything, obviously, but there's still something to be said for blue-chip talent -- guys like Adrian Clayborn, Christian Ballard, and Bryan Bulaga were certainly key figures in Iowa's recent success.
On the other hand, this appears to be a very balanced class -- aside from Kenney (the aforementioned 4* recruit), all of Iowa's currently ranked players are 3* recruits. (Three current verbal commits don't have star ratings yet -- Ike Boettger, Trevon Young, and Andre Harris.) They also mostly have solid offer sheets, with many guys boasting offers from several other BCS programs. Again, that's not everything -- I too can recite the list of Iowa players like Greenway and Sanders and Clark and Robinson who came to Iowa with not much more than an Iowa offer in their pockets -- but it's still a useful indication that these are players capable of playing BCS-level football. Again, I like this class as-is and think it looks very solid... but I wouldn't say "no" to a few more blue-chippers being added to the mix, either.