February 2007 was pretty rough in terms of the pop culture landscape. The #1 movie was Norbit, "Fergalicious" was a stalwart in the Billboard Top 10, and neither Breaking Bad nor Mad Men existed yet. (The Wire was busy not being watched by anyone, not wining any awards, and getting cancelled.) Even the New York Post headline writers seemed off their game:
How can you let the Daily News take "Britney Shears"? I'm guessing they fired their staff after this blunder, because their recent work on the Anthony Weiner scandal has been impeccable.
Kirk Ferentz, on the other hand, was busy signing what Rivals considered to be the #28 class in the nation. How did it compare to other Iowa classes once the players went from fake 40 times and highlight videos to actual guys in Iowa uniforms? Let's find out. Refer to this post for info on the 2008 class. We're looking for the following info:
1. Pre-college information: Recruiting rating, size, geographical location, high school position, other offers, date of commitment, any other information that seems relevant.
2. Performance at Iowa: Statistics, honors, injury history, position changes, games started, etc. If they left prior to graduation, do we have any idea why?
3. Performance after Iowa: For the players who stayed in the program, did they go on to the NFL, the CFL, or arenaball? For those who left, did they have any success at their other schools, or did they fade away entirely?
After all the player threads, I'll post my rough sense of how we would re-rank these players based on hindsight. I'll use the following tiers:
Program changers: guys who are acknowledged as among the best at their position nationally. Most would be high NFL draft picks, but not all. Brad Banks, Riley Reiff.
All-conference/multi-year starters: guys who start and play well for multiple years, and/or guys who are recognized as among the best in the Big Ten when they do start. Ricky Stanzi, Shaun Prater.
Solid starters/pieces: Guys who earn significant playing time and perform well by the time they graduate. Fringe all-Big Ten types- think undrafted NFL free agents, in many cases. Adam Robinson, Mike Humpal.
Contributors: Guys who clearly belong on a major college football roster but are basically replacement-level players. On good/great Iowa teams they contribute on special teams and in rotations, on poor teams they are asked to do more than that. Steve Bigach, James Vandenberg.
Special teams and garbage time They have recorded statistics but you might not know it. Jack Swanson, Joe Forgy.
No shows and/or complete misses: Guys who either never made it to campus or never made it past their second year in the program and didn't make noise at any other schools. The guys who make you say "who the hell is that?" when you look at old recruiting classes. Stephane Ngoumou, Joshua Brown. Complete misses would be guys who stay with the program for a significant amount of time but are not able to get on the field in any real way. Johnny Mullings, Trent Mossbrucker.