Hands up if you've ever heard of Iola, Wisconsin before today. I see no hands. Makes sense. Iola is a village of about a thousand people, roughly an hour west of Green Bay. That's where Kirk Ferentz found his newest commit, Kristian Welch, a 6'4", 218-pound linebacker. Welch is a 2-star on Rivals and a composite 3-star on 247.
Welch is almost a "peak Ferentz" prospect: he's tall, he's from a small town and the only FBS school Iowa had to beat for him was Bowling Green. Alas, he played 11-man football and not 7-man, so we'll have to put the Chad Greenway comparisons back on the shelf. Maybe some other day, Tiny Chad. [puts Greenway homunculus back on voodoo shelf]
Welch's Hudl profile is private, so there's not a lot we can say about him as a football player, but he's a track star in central Wisconsin, placing third in Division 3 in the long jump, 100m dash and 4x400m relay at the 2015 Wisconsin state track meet.
All of which is to say, a stiff he ain't, and given the direction of football toward speed and getting the ball in the open field, defenders who can fly at their position are a must. Iowa's defense in the Phil Parker era was at its best when it had fast linebackers, and it's no surprise that Christian Kirksey, Anthony Hitchens and James Morris are all now in the NFL. This is not to say "Kristian Welch is definitely going to the NFL" or even "Kristian Welch is definitely going to start" or even "Kristian Welch is definitely going to get playing time at Iowa" but it's a nice sign that the program is looking to fill its defensive ranks with as much speed as it can find.
And hey, Welch got a scholarship offer from North Dakota State, and at least that's a program that knows how to convincingly beat Iowa State, soooooo... [a dozen pianos crash through ceiling]