After a big recruiting weekend in Iowa City, we were anticipating some movement on the CIC front. This is not exactly what we had in mind, though: Waukon defensive end Parker Hesse gave his verbal commitment to Iowa Monday night, during an unofficial visit to campus. Hesse is the 17th commitment to Iowa's Class of 2014, and the fifth player out of the state of Iowa. He is not rated by 247 Sports, Scout, or ESPN, but received two stars from Rivals.
Hesse's only 6'3 and 205 pounds, but he's one of those Kirk Ferentz guys: He's completely under the radar -- his only other offers were from FCS schools -- but he is certainly a gamer. Hesse played quarterback and defensive end for the Warriors, who lost the Class 2-A state championship game to Carroll Kuemper Friday. He wasn't bad in that game, either:
Hesse carried Waukon in the second half after leading rusher Marcus Weymiller when out with an injury, converting consistently on third- and fourth-down plays to frustrate the Kuemper defense.
He completed 19 of 40 passes for 223 yards and three touchdowns and ran 24 times for another 87 yards. One TD pass came on fourth-and-19 and another on fourth-and-9. Late in the game, he ran up the middle for 18 yards on fourth-and-5 from his own 42.
He didn't take the loss well, which feels like a good sign:
My whole life I dreamt of wearing those orange spears under the lights. How can it be gone?— Parker Hesse (@trueblue_hesse) November 26, 2013
And remember that Reese Morgan has a way of finding these guys. He did it last with Nate Meier, who was a demigod in Iowa eight-man football but didn't translate to FBS football. He's now a situational pass rush specialist at defensive end. Dominic Alvis was a preferred walk-on from a Class 1-A program (Iowa high school football goes up to 4-A) and was a starting defensive end by his sophomore season. These guys are out there, and Morgan has an uncanny ability to find them.
Obviously, Hesse is a project. For one, he is projected at linebacker despite playing defensive end in high school. For another, he's going to need some weight room time. And while you'd like to get in-state projects as walk-ons (no pun intended), especially given how tight the number of available scholarships in this class appears to be, the fact is that they're usually worth the scholarship.
We still expect more on the recruiting front after the holiday weekend, from guys we've followed more closely. But welcome to Iowa City, Mr. Hesse. Let's see what you can do.