Remember when Darrell Wilson left for Rutgers this winter? How the biggest concern was what Wilson's departure would do to Iowa's recruiting efforts in the mid-Atlantic region? How, with Iowa moving out of Florida for the foreseeable future, the link to the Washington, DC area was all the more important, and yet looked strained because Iowa's only past recruiter in the region had left?
I give you Omar Truitt. All our troubles are over, Dude.
Truitt, who gave his verbal commitment to Iowa Monday, is a 5'11, 185-lb. receiver/cornerback from Washington's St. John's College High School. He has three-star ratings from Rivals (which lists him as an athlete), Scout (wide receiver), and 24/7 (cornerback). ESPN has yet to issue a rating. He is a consensus top 10 player in the District this season, and held offers from Maryland, Syracuse, Miami (OH), and Richmond.
That Maryland offer is the one that should make some waves. Truitt was being pursued by the Terps' best DC recruiter, and probably the best DC recruiter in the nation, Mike Locksley. That's the same Locksley that, while an assistant for Ron Zook, convinced Dunbar High five-star phenom Arrelious Benn to come to Illinois. It's the same Locksley that, while head coach at New Mexico, convinced Dunbar grad Deon Long to transfer from West Virginia to New Mexico, then got him to transfer again to Maryland after Locksley had been fired and joined the Terps' staff. In three recruiting classes at New Mexico, Locksley somehow convinced 13 recruits from DC and Maryland to play for him. At New Mexico. He got 15 in four seasons at Illinois, including the consensus top player in DC two years in a row.
The Svengali of Washington/Maryland recruiting wasn't all Iowa was up against here. Locksley was being assisted by Truitt's high school teammate and Maryland commit, quarterback William Umber:
When the notebooks close shut and the pencils come out, signaling test time in the St. John's College High School economics class, quarterback and Maryland commit Will Ulmer will often turn to his teammate and begin to whisper.
No, it's not some cheating conspiracy. Rather, a recruiting pitch. "Hey," Ulmer tells cornerback Omar Truitt, just softly enough so the teacher can't hear, "let's go Maryland."
Ulmer, a four-star dual-threat quarterback who announced his commitment to the Terrapins in late April, has since assumed the role of on-the-ground hype man, promoting his future program to Truitt, himself a three-star prospect and Washington D.C.'s seventh-best player from the class of 2014, according to 247sports.com.
So how did Iowa do it? How did the Hawkeyes convince a player coveted by a local program, badgered by his quarterback, and chased by the best recruiter in his area, all without even getting him to Iowa City yet? It was the work of new running backs coach Chris White. Under White's guidance, Iowa got Truitt an offer last week, before he had traveled to Iowa's junior camp. All indication are that the early offer was important to Truitt:
When Iowa called Truitt and offered Wednesday, he muted the phone and excitedly yelled to his mother.
"When you first get on the phone with them or first meet them, it hits you," Truitt said. "You just want to cry, because you know you've been working so hard for this moment, that people are finally recognizing your talents and what you can offer to their football program. It's still a very exciting time."
Ferentz mentioned that White would likely lead Iowa's ongoing efforts in the mid-Atlantic. If he is going to recruit like this, he's going to have that job for a long, long time. It is a fantastic result for the new staff in a crucial region at a position -- especially cornerback, and receiver to a lesser extent -- that Iowa needs for 2014.
Omar's coming, yo. Welcome to Iowa City.