In 2000, Kirk Ferentz went to South Dakota to pick up an eight-man quarterback/linebacker that had no other interest from anyone in FBS. It was an unconventional move, to be sure; there were obvious questions regarding the level of competition that Chad Greenway had faced, and he would require a redshirt less for his physical structure than to acclimate him to the speed and style of play, but it worked out pretty well. In recent years, Iowa has gone back to the off-the-grid small-school well with guys like Dominic Alvis (successful) and Casey McMillan (not quite so much). Last year, the Hawkeyes threw a late scholarship to Iowa eight-man superstar Nate Meier.
Nathan Bazata differs from those in a couple of significant aspects: He's been offered -- and, as of Saturday, accepted -- a scholarship not only before the last few hours of the recruiting period, but before he even begins his senior season, and he's drawn interest not only from Iowa, but also from some heavy hitters like Michigan, Kansas State, and -- yes -- Nebraska. Bazata is currently 6'2", 270 lbs. and projected at defensive tackle. He received three stars from Rivals and has yet to receive a rating from Scout and 24/7.
It's easy to see why Bazata made it onto Iowa's radar. His high school, Howells, is a longtime wrestling powerhouse, and Bazata is a two-time state heavyweight runner-up. In an interview prior to this year's state semifinals, his wrestling coach described him as "straight size and strength." You've got size, strength, and leverage in spades, from the sort of sources that Iowa covets, and a two-sport star to boot. It's a natural fit. It will be worth keeping an eye on Lincoln, though; there's a long way to go to February, Bazata's Iowa commitment will raise some eyebrows, and there's always the possibility that Bo Pelini will jump into the fray.