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CREEPYPALOOZA 2010: The Skill Positions

Sure, caring is creepy.  That's why we generally leave it to the Rivals guys.  But once their signature goes on the dotted line of an Iowa letter of intent, caring ceases to be creepy and becomes essential.  So, without further ado, your objects of affection and/or scorn (sometimes both at the same time) for the next four or five years.  First, the skill positions:

A.J. Derby (6'4", 218)

Iowa City High
4* Rivals, 3* Scout, 80 ESPN

Much like the Korean War and the chase for Martin Palermo in Championship Manager 2000/01, the Derby Derby was fierce and sucked in many of the major superpowers in college football.  Derby, the consensus best prospect in Iowa, held offers from Alabama, Florida, Miami, Michigan, Nebraska, and a whole host of Midwestern mid-carders.  At times it appeared he had no interest in staying home and playing for the Hawkeyes, especially when the message boards began churning with "The next Tebow, at least in his own head" rumors.  But the superpowers balked at making Derby -- knocked for throwing accuracy in high school -- a quarterback, and Iowa desperately needed a quarterback after striking out last year.  This fall, Ferentz and company cut bait with every other prospective quarterback in the class and put everything behind the push for Derby.  With that pseudo-guarantee in hand, Derby committed quickly.
Fun Fact:  If he were British, his last name would be pronounced "Darby."  Fortunately, he's not British.  He's American.

Austin Vier (6'7", 225)

Ballard (Huxley, IA)
2* Rivals, 2* Scout, 74 ESPN

While Derby was pursued by every program in the country, Vier was known by practically nobody outside southern Story County when, after an appearance at an Iowa camp this summer, he was offered and signed on the spot.  The good news, of course, is that he's a giant, and his fake combine numbers (4.65 40, 4.41 shuttle, 31" vertical) are enough to make us giddy.  There are positional questions, to be sure; he played quarterback in high school, but looks more like a monster tight end to us at the moment, and has the frame for potential upgrade into the line.  A project of sorts, but a risk worth taking.
Fun Fact:  You would think that, based on the name of his hometown, his favorite book is Brave New World.  But it's not.  Ironically enough, it's Orwell's 1984.

Marcus Coker (6'1", 222)

Running Back
DeMatha (Hyattsville, MD)
4* Rivals, 3* Scout, 78 ESPN

Coker's saga has been well-documented here and elsewhere: Lightly recruited by Wake Forest, Maryland, and Minnesota, who all saw him as a potential fullback, Coker (which must be said in that question-like "I don't even know her!" voice at all times, pursuant to BHGP Executive Order) and his mom hopped in the family's Ford Taurus last summer and came to Iowa City.  After watching a Shonn Greene highlight film or two, it was over; Coker was to be a Hawkeye.  He then returned to Maryland and put a smackdown on every candy ass within 100 miles of the Chesapeake, including 392 yards rushing against the Gilman School (whose defense included two members of this list).  The virtual unknown became a sought-after commodity but, aside from a brief kerfuffle stemming from a Facebook update, he remained loyal.
Fun Fact: Given his name, you'd think Coker (?) was a Coca-Cola drinker, but the man actually prefers Diet Rite.  He'll drink Mr. Pibb in a pinch.

De'Andre Johnson (5'8", 210)

Running Back
Monsignor Pace (Miami, FL)
3* Rivals, 2* Scout, 70 ESPN

Johnson was being pursued by some of the South's big names (Florida and LSU reportedly had interest over the summer) when he tore his ACL in the second week of September.  The big fish went to other ponds.  Iowa stayed, assuming this just got the inevitable ACL tear out of the way before he hit campus.  Johnson was left to decide between Iowa and a handful of lesser programs (Florida International, Duke, Minnesota, etc.)  Ten days after his injury, Johnson attended the Arizona game and committed soon thereafter.  Johnson produced in the two years prior to his injury, amassing 1800 yards and 17 touchdowns combined, but we're always weary of two-star types from big Florida schools; it's not like they haven't been seen.
Fun Fact:  Despite his hometown, Johnson is not a Dolphins fan.  In fact, he's not much of an NFL fan at all, preferring the wide-open action of Canadian football.  His favorite team is the one not named Roughriders.

Kevonte Martin-Manley (6'0", 200)

Wide Receiver
Brother Rice (Pontiac, MI)
2* Rivals, 2* Scout, 75 ESPN

KMM stands poised to assume the Iowa Hyphenated Last Name Wide Receiver (hereinafter IHLNWR) mantle upon DJK's graduation after next season; in fact, the Hawkeyes' warm embrace of Run-DJK and his hyphen-ness no doubt played a part in his recruitment.  Martin-Manley is the prototypical Iowa wide receiver recruit under Ferentz: productive in high school (1355 yards and 19 touchdowns on 77 catches as a junior and senior), might lack one or two of the skills needed to be an elite prospect (in KMM's case, top-end speed), a handful of MAC-ish offers (Central Michigan, Bowling Green, Toledo, Illinois).  One year with Doyle and these guys become weapons.
Fun Fact:  Kevonte's first name is a combination of Kevin and Dante, with an 'o' thrown in there for the heck of it.

Don Shumpert (6'2", 185)

Wide Receiver/Athlete
Hazelwood East (St. Louis)
3* Rivals, 2* Scout, 78 ESPN

On the other end of the spectrum, we have Don Shumpert, a string bean of a receiver/safety, Reggie Cleveland All-Star, and the latest product of Iowa's recruiting inroads in St. Louis.  Shumpert came as a package deal with high school teammate DE Christian Kirksey; both look to be projects who will need some time with Doyle before they sniff some playing time, and Shumpert in particular is a man without a position.  Scout lists him as a receiver, ESPN has him playing safety, and Rivals throws their hands up and gives him the dreaded "athlete" designation.  His fake 40 time (4.45) is probably enough to get him a look as a receiver, especially given the current depth chart.
Fun Fact:  "Don Shumpert" sounds like the name of a guy who drinks Pabst Blue Ribbon, but Shumpert doesn't go for PBR.  He's only 18, stupid!  He can't possibly have the refined sense of detached irony that comes from drinking Pabst.

C.J. Fiedorowicz (6'7", 240)

Tight End
Johnsburg, IL
4* Rivals, 4* Scout, 81 ESPN


There.  That's out of the way.  Fiedorowicz is arguably the highest-rated recruit in Iowa's 2010 class; according to ESPN, he's slightly more highly regarded than Derby.  Polish Hat, the top-rated player in Illinois, initially committed to Zook over the summer.  In later interviews, he hinted that it was done essentially to stop Zook from incessantly calling him.  After reflecting on the fact that he wanted to play tight end but committed to a coach who thinks that's a sexual term, Fiedorowicz reopened his recruitment (leading Zook to make the most ironic phone call ever in an attempt to stop him from visiting Iowa) and, after spending a weekend in Iowa City with Tony Moeaki, was a Hawkeye.  It was just the latest example in one of this season's overarching recruiting themes: Iowa went head-to-head with both Zook and Brewster for a number of players and DESTROYED them both, despite their perceived status as "recruiters."
Fun Fact:  He's not even Polish.  He's half-Swedish, half-Azerbaijanian.  It's kind of like how Moeaki was "The Flyin' Hawaiian" even though he was from Wheaton.