Iowa demolished Western Michigan 59-3, thanks in part to a pair of interceptions returned for touchdowns by B.J. Lowery. Perhaps that spectacular display from a member of Iowa's secondary helped convince a kid visiting Kinnick Stadium on Saturday to decide to give his verbal commitment to Iowa to be a future member of that secondary. Maryland defensive back Marcel Joly pledged his future to Iowa this weekend, bringing the number of commitments in Iowa's 2014 recruiting class to 14.
Joly, from Forrestville, Maryland, is listed at 5-11 and in the 180-190 range (aside: I wish one of the scouting services decided to just be a little weird and measured weight in stones), with a fake-40 time of 4.5 seconds. He's rated 3* by Rivals, 247Sports, and ESPN, while Scout has him as a 2* prospect. Per Rivals, Joly also had offers from Maryland, Vanderbilt, Temple, and Old Dominion (sidenote: those are actually all FBS teams now -- even Temple and Old Dominion!).
ESPN lists Joly as an athlete (probably because he's done just about everything for his high school team; so far he's played quarterback, running back, slot receiver, safety, and cornerback for his high school team), but the other three services have him listed as a cornerback and that seems to be his best position. Joly would be the fourth defensive back Iowa has added in this class, but defensive back is a fairly significant need for this class. B.J. Lowery, Tanner Miller, and Gavin Smith will have no more eligibility after this season, while Nico Law and Johnny Lowdermilk will be seniors in 2014. A lack of depth at cornerback is a big reason why a true freshman like Desmond King has been starting for the last three games and why a walk-on like Smith has been playing in Iowa's nickel and dime packages. So Iowa does need to replenish its depth in the defensive backfield in this class, which is exactly what they're doing. Defensive backs are also key contributors on coverage units, which is another reason to bring in a good number of DBs in this class.
Speaking of Nico... it seems that he had a role to play in Joly's commitment. Per The Des Moines Register:
Lomax, a sophomore from Upper Marlboro, Md., started the season opener against Northern Illinois at right cornerback, but has missed the last three games with a hamstring injury. Law, a native of Clinton, Md., has played extensively on special teams in all four games. He and Lomax served as Joly’s host during his recruiting visit this past weekend.
"That was cool," Joly told Hawkeye Insider.com. "We had a lot to talk about."
Obviously, Iowa has cultivated a pretty strong recruiting pipeline in Maryland in recent seasons, pulling in players like Darian Cooper, Nico Law, Jordan Lomax, and Marcus Coker (since departed, of course). Despite the fact that no members of that trio haveemerged as stars for Iowa yet (or even starters, aside from brief runs for Law and Lomax), it appears that they still have good things to say about the Iowa program, which is good. Maryland (especially the D.C. area) is a very fertile recruiting area, so keeping that pipeline flowing is very good news. Also, Joly's lead recruiter? Chris White. There that man again.
BONUS! Here's some video footage of Joly in high school, albeit pretty much exclusively as a RB: