Hometown: Kansas City, Missouri
Weight: 205 pounds
247 Sports Composite Rating: 3-stars
Other Offers: Iowa State
Caring Is Creepy: Have a seat, Aaron Mends
Where Mends is headed in Iowa's defense is up for speculation. Mends' speed suggests he'll be destined for the outside, but Iowa rarely uses a short linebacker on the strongside. Throw in the plaudits Mends has received as a run-stuffing middle linebacker in high school and the prior commitments of Jameer Outsey and Ben Niemann (both 6'3 and looking the part of an Iowa strongside linebacker), and I'm willing to bet he's headed for the weakside position. In fact, the size, speed, halfback experience, and mentality look a lot like former weakside linebacker Jeremiha Hunter.
That weakside prognostication looks good, especially given the commitment of a clear SAM linebacker like Parker Hesse. And if Iowa's serious enough about increasing defensive speed -- after seeing what the linebackers did this year, they should be -- Mends at weakside could be a revelation. He's the kind of pure athlete Iowa's wanted there for years, finally got this season with Anthony Hitchens v. 2.0, and expects to see there in 2014 with Reggie Spearman. The only downside: Reggie Spearman, who has three seasons of eligibility remaining and looks prime for that weakside position for all three of them.