Football season draws ever nearer, but recruiting season never stops. Iowa's not even totally done with the 2013 recruiting class yet, but they're already taking names for the 2014 group, beginning with a new verbal commit yesterday from the wilds of South Dakota (the "other" Dakota), Matthew VandeBerg. VandeBerg (only one "n," so no chance that he's related to our senior quarterback) verballed to Iowa yesterday as a grayshirt recruit. VandeBerg is a wide receiver/free safety prospect and while he's not the most physically imposing recruit Iowa's added lately -- he's listed at 6-1 and tips the scales at just 170 -- he does appear to have something that the Iowa coaches are coveting: athleticism. Jon Miller notes a (admittedly self-reported) 40 time in the 4.5 range, while Mas Casa notes his results from the South Dakota 2A state track meet:
At the South Dakota Class 2A state track meet this spring, Vandeberg won the long jump (22-feet-6 3/4) and triple jump (44-10 3/4) and finished fourth in the 100 meters (11.42 seconds).
Athleticism is good. We like that. Greg Davis really likes that.
VandeBerg was also tremendously productive as a junior: 67 receptions, 1081 yards, 16 TDs on offense, and 53 tackles and 9 interceptions on defense. VandeBerg competed in 2A football in South Dakota, which (to the best of my knowledge; someone correct me if I'm wrong) is the highest level of 11-man football in South Dakota. South Dakota hasn't been a particularly prolific pipeline for Iowa, but it has been a rather productive one in the past. See: Riley Reiff and Chad Greenway. (Brandon Wegher also kinda-sorta counts as a South Dakota recruit, especially if you happen to be Brent Musberger.) Which is not to say that we should expect VandeBerg to be a first-round NFL draft pick in five years, but just a reminder that Iowa has been extraordinarily successful at locating (and developing) overlooked talent from South Dakota.
As far as this grayshirt business... it's essentially a scholarship IOU. Friend of the Pants Marc Morehouse has a more detailed description here:
Now, what that means is Vandeberg will enroll next fall, but will not be on scholarship until the spring semester. His scholarship won’t count as part of the 2013 class, which is running out of free rides if it already hasn’t. Also, grayshirt recruits generally don’t enroll as full-time students and aren’t allowed to practice until spring of their first year.
So yeah: for now think of VandeBerg as a member of the 2014 class, not someone you might see on the field in the fall of 2013. On the other hand, Iowa does have a bit of a history of grayshirt recruits getting immediately bumped up to full scholarship status when the inevitable attrition bug hits in the offseason (see: Julian Vandervelde, among others). Then again, even if VandeBerg is on scholarship in September of 2013, his slight frame suggests he'll probably be redshirting and getting well-acquainted with Doyle anyway.
(As far as the spelling of his name goes... Miller and Morehouse are using the "Vandeberg" spelling, but Rivals, the YouTube highlight video, and Matt's own Twitter feed use the "VandeBerg" spelling, so I'm going to use that one.)