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The lifeblood of recruiting is the relationship developed between coach and prospective player, and you would think no head coach is more experienced in cutting through the clutter typical of the senior year recruitment chaos of a highly sought after athlete than the Big Ten dean of coaches, Kirk Ferentz. Finally, thanks to the sharp eye of a waste management specialist in Florida, and for the first time ever, we are able to read first-hand the rhetorical flair of Ferentz as ably displayed in a "closing" letter recently mailed to a prospective elite quarterback recruit in Florida.

Dumas letter.
Dumas letter.
Iowa Football
Hayden Fry Football Offices
Jacobson Athletic Bldg.
930 Evashevski Drive
Iowa City, Iowa 52242

October 28, 2014

Dumas Chitte
21 Jump Around Street
Spuds, FL

Dear Dumas,

After evaluating you on tape, reading about you on numerous recruiting sites, and seeing on Twitter that because of your admirable commitment to schooling and football, "you ain't got no time for no bitches or hoes," I am writing to formally extend you a full athletic scholarship offer to play quarterback (or defensive back or offensive tackle if you happen to put on enough sloppy backside weight) at the University of Iowa! This is a truly great opportunity for you because it's not every day that a consensus 5-star recruit from a historically powerhouse Florida football program gets a scholarship offer from Iowa. Especially since we've given up on competing for players from states overflowing with elite athletic talent so we can focus on states that are closer to our borders, like South Dakota where eight man football teaches players the value and importance of hard work, warm bodies and fields that actually have grass on them.

While we have certainly heard about you, Dumas, I am hopeful you have likewise heard about us. If not, allow me to introduce you to Iowa. First, we are a four-year college that has a Top Ten pedigree, as a party school. Second, we are in the historically relevant Big Ten Conference, home of the oldest football program in America (Rutgers). Third, our football program makes a lot of money and while you will never see a dime of that money in your pocket, you absolutely will - like all Iowa athletes as of this month - be given a courtesy GOLD flag to place on the back of any moped you may be compelled to buy so you can get around campus easily, thanks to the generous Kayleen and Wilber Oswald Scooter Flag Fund we recently and hastily established. Fourth, let me assure you that a degree from the University of Iowa is nothing to sneeze at, that is as long as you choose to stay here in Iowa after you graduate. Fifth, you will be happy and impressed to know that we have placed a lot of players into the NFL, although we have yet to place a 5-Star high school player in the NFL (so, you would be a trailblazer for us!). Finally, you know of course that Bob Sanders played here. You do know that, right? Yep, he did. Which tells you just what kind of program we are running here at Iowa. 

Some of my staff and I have experience coaching at the highest level, the National Football League. Sure, it was during the 1980s, long before you or this spread offense nonsense was born, but my staff and I are specialized in coaching the offensive line, which is a position group that serves as the cornerstone of every successful football program. As you can imagine this gives us a huge advantage over most MAC programs, although not all MAC programs. We want to assure you that if you attend Iowa and end up, say, playing on the offensive line you will receive some of the best coaching that exists at the collegiate level. (If you play any other position, especially a position for which blocking is not a core or even secondary attribute, I'm hopeful we do not ruin whatever skills you bring with you out of high school. But, no promises.). Also, tell your mom that at Iowa we will use every ounce of our collective coaching experience to ensure you reach your full potential as a human being or find the right moving company to get your crap off campus if you can't learn to play your music at the proper decibel level. Of course, my staff and I will always be committed to developing your football skills every day through what we call, "The Iowa Way!" Allow me to say a few things about The Iowa Way:

1.            The Iowa Way is about doing things "our" way.

2.            The Iowa Way is not about doing things "your" way.

3.            The Iowa Way does not have a Twitter account or a Facebook page, but it does have a wooden plaque made by a guy in Akworth.

4.            The Iowa Way is very specific, but we'll get more into that after you arrive on campus and begin your indoctrination period.

5.            The Iowa Way is about loyalty and fidelity, but overwhelmingly it will be about your loyalty and fidelity to our excruciatingly deliberate and relentlessly fair and equitable process.

6.            Bob Sanders loved the Iowa Way, even though it wasn't called that when he went here. I think it was called the, "We Need A Damn Win In The Worst Way" at that time.

While you have undoubtedly accomplished a lot of things on the gridiron in your young life, and much of that owing to your elite "Top 1% of 1%" raw athletic talent that my buddy Gil Brandt said was so exceptional it was beyond anything he had ever even heard of in fictionalized accounts of football players much less seen up close in person, in spite of all that we look forward to you accomplishing so much more once you have fully served our prerequisite program development cycle (recently shortened to 2 -3 years thanks to AIRBHG) which will properly teach you how to do things The Iowa Way, to include knowing the playbook to the point you can teach it to a Crossing Guard with the IQ of Pamela Anderson, understanding the importance of watching players who are smaller, weaker, slower and less athletic than you do things the proper way, The Iowa Way, even though it may not help us win football games.

To make this offer final it is important to understand the requirements of the scholarship offer. They are as follows:

  • You must continue to work hard in the classroom and on the field. Your must bring lots of attention to your work ethic, no matter how naturally easy everything is for you!
  • We believe in leaders who lead by example. Or followers who follow by example. The point being, we expect you to observe those who know what they are doing, and then do what they do. Kinda like the hokey pokey.
  • Humility is a core value of our football program. We expect you to show little emotion and to be very restrained and low-key. Think of Iowa Football, in this way, as a huge library with a tedious librarian constantly shushing you.
  • Your personal goals will have to align with our team goals, which of course is to finish in the top five of our division and hopefully get invited to a bowl game not held in Detroit.
  • We do not believe that social media is very productive, and so you will need to leave your cell phone in Florida and buy a pen, some paper, envelopes, and stamps if you want to continue to stay connected to your friends, fans, loved ones, and me. Especially me.
  • Most importantly, we have a student code in our student handbook at Iowa and we expect you to know all 78 pages of it by heart, inside and out. Especially pages 1-78. Also, pay extra special attention to any pages this book might have.

Finally, because you want to play quarterback in college let me share with you just what a special history we have at that position. Actually, nevermind. Trust me though, we have a special history at that position, and an even more special history of players who, just like you, thought they wanted to play quarterback but learned very quickly they would be better off either transferring or putting on 80 pounds or so and playing a position that allows them to eat a lot of junk food.

Oh, and one more thing. While you consider all your offers I want to remind you that college football is a merciless business of, "What have you done for me lately?" and in an instant the head coach who successfully recruited you could be gone the very next year and with him will go any promises of playing time and the like. College football is a fickle business where winning and losing ruthlessly dictates job security. Well, not here in Iowa. All you have to do is look at Paul Rhoads, who is the now perennially losing head coach of the other university that plays FBS football in Iowa (I know, right?) and me. I have been the coach of the Hawkeyes since you were in diapers, and thanks to an ironclad contract I signed a few years ago, I plan to be the coach at Iowa until I am in diapers. I am sure that in considering where to play football a 17-year-old like you cares much more deeply about your coach's job security than whether you get any playing time at your preferred position right away.

Dumas, you are of a select few to be recruited by Iowa, and for this you should be proud. It is not every day that an offer like this comes about, although I did hear that you were having so much trouble managing all your recruitment letters that you hired a secretary to help your family wade through the myriad of offers you have been receiving. Still, the opportunity to play football at the same school that Bob Sanders played football has to be looked at the way I would look at it, and that is, as the highest compliment a high school player can possibly ever hope to ever receive. We look forward to your decision Dumas, unless you do one of those "Which cap will it be?" things, in which case good luck elsewhere.


Kirk Ferentz's Secretary