Stand down, everyone. The high alert is no longer needed. Iowa football has added a kicker to its 2014 football recruiting class.
Earlier this spring, we found out that Jonny Mullings, part-time Iowa punter prospect and full-time Aussie heartthrob, was leaving the program. Fortunately, today we got word that Texas kicking prospect Mick Ellis had given his verbal commitment to Iowa.
Officially a Hawkeye #D1Athlete— Mick Ellis (@mickellis22) July 8, 2013
When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. When life gives Kirk Ferentz an open scholarship, he makes damn sure that he can still assemble kicker-punter Voltron. You'll thank him when King Zarkon launches his invasion from planet Doom. (FUN FACT: King Zarkon and Nick Saban have never been spotted in the same room together. Things that make you go "Hmm...")
Ellis is listed at 5'10", 182 lbs. and is considered one of the top kicking prospects in this year's class by several services. Chris Sailer Kicking* ranks him as the 4th best kicker in this class, while competing service Kohl's Professional Camps (not to be confused with the department store juggernaut of the same name) ranks him as the 13th best kicker in this class. ESPN, meanwhile, puts him as the 23rd best kicker in this class, while neither Rivals, nor Scout, nor 247Sports have gotten around to ranking kickers yet. (Lazybones.) Ellis chose Iowa over an offer from Yale (which means that Iowa's last two commits have selected Iowa over Stanford and Yale: SUCK IT, IVY LEAGUE AND FAUX-IVY LEAGUE), as well as good old "interest" from the likes of Texas A&M, Oklahoma, and LSU.
* The Sailer service not only has him as the 4th best kicking prospect in the nation in this class, it also gives him a five-star rating**. Just try to look at those stars without getting hypnotized.
** The Kohl service also gives him five stars, but their stars don't spin.
Ellis was an all-state kicker last week and also has a list of accolades from various summer camps as long as his kickoffs (which are pretty long, as he consistently drives them 75 yards, per Kohl's write-up). In actual game situations, Ellis wasn't too shabby, either:
#qctimes Iowa lands commitment from Texas prep kicker Mick Ellis, connected from 53, 52 and 49 while going 13/17 last yr. Had 41 touchbacks— Steve Batterson (@sbatt79) July 8, 2013
Yeah, that'll do.
Ellis is also the latest recruit landed by new Iowa coach Chris White, bringing his total to four so far (Rivals gives him shared credit with Brian Ferentz for C.J. Hillard) in this class. White has been doin' work for Iowa's recruiting efforts since coming aboard this spring. Iowa returns a solid placekicker this fall in Mike Meyer, but Meyer will be a senior in 2013-14 and it wasn't clear who would be tabbed to replace him. The Iowa roster currently lists three walk-ons as the other options at kicker: sophomore Marshall Koehn, junior Alden Haffar, and freshman Brent Wilker. There was some thought that Koehn would be groomed as Meyer's replacement (he was his backup last season and was slated to fill that role again this fall), but now it appears that he'll have some competition for that job. I'm sure he'll still get a crack at the job (no one loves walk-ons like Kirk Ferentz), but his path to a starting job at Iowa looks considerably bumpier now that Ellis is in the fold. The fact that Ellis was recruited by White, Iowa's special teams coordinator, after White had the spring practice period to evaluate Koehn's ability as a placekicker would seem to suggest that White wasn't entirely sold on Koehn's ability to replace Meyer.
In any event, welcome aboard, Mr. Ellis.