clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

2016 IOWA FOOTBALL RECRUITING: DEFENSIVE LINE

New, 11 comments

Sure, caring is creepy. That's why we generally leave it to the Rivals/Scout/247 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.

CHAUNCEY GOLSTON

Strongside Defensive End, 6'5", 235
Detroit, MI (East English Village Prep)
3★ Rivals, 3★ Scout, 3★ ESPN, 3★ 247Sports

You Might Remember Him From Such Posts As: Have A Seat, Chauncey Golston | Chauncey Golston recruiting capsule

Iowa continues its substantial presence in Michigan with four Mitten State commits in this class, including a pair on the defensive line. And if Phil Parker has chosen his defenders from EEVP as well as he's chosen before (hi Desmond King), Iowa's in great shape here. Golston's frame gives him (and the Iowa S&C program) flexibility in determining his eventual destination, but he might not need to move at all, and eventually be the guy that bridges any potential gap at strongside end between Matt Nelson and incoming wunderkind A.J. Epenesa. He's got size, athleticism and some pretty good hand-fighting technique (likely a by-product of his time on the offensive line) that'll help him defeat blocks at the college level; where and when that is remains to be seen.

2016 Outlook: Iowa's not starving for depth anywhere on the defensive line, as long as everyone's healthy, but if there's any opportunity it's at end. Golston probably needs a redshirt year to bulk up to face B1G-level ends, though.

FUN FACT: Golston is neither related to former B1G DEs Vernon and Will Gholston (last names are spelled differently), nor former NBA All-Star Chauncey Billups (you're not related to someone just because you have the same first name)!

CEDRIC LATTIMORE

Strongside Defensive End, 6'6", 265
Detroit, MI (East English Village Prep)
3★ Rivals, 4★ Scout, 3★ ESPN, 3★ 247Sports

You Might Remember Him From Such Posts As: Have A Seat, Cedric LattimoreCedric Lattimore recruiting capsule

Golston's classmate, Lattimore looks like a prime candidate to move inside as the upperclassman-heavy DT depth chart prepares for departure. Lattimore's lucky to have three seniors in front of him, as he's still pretty raw; even in his highlights, Lattimore's pad level wavers at times, and it's easy to get by on sheer strength when you're the biggest guy on the field, all the damn time. Even though he played some tight end in HS as well, he's probably nowhere near as valuable to an Iowa offense as he is as a potential space eater on the interior. And one more thing to remember: Lee Gray came to Iowa in the class of 2001 as an all-state TE/DE, switched to OL in 2003 and was starting on a 10-win team the next season. Lattimore's size and skill set might end up translating well at OT too. There are options, is the point here.

2016 Outlook: It's hard to imagine Kirk Ferentz would trade Lattimore's potential in 2020 for how much Iowa could expect out of him in 2016. Expect a valuable redshirt season.

FUN FACT: Lattimore already has his CDL Class A license, and he'll be driving the Hawkeye equipment semi to and from each game!

ROMEO MCKNIGHT

Weakside Defensive End, 6'5", 235
Crystal Lake, IL (Central HS)
3★ Rivals, 3★ Scout, 3★ ESPN, 3★ 247Sports

You Might Remember Him From Such Posts As: Have A Seat, Romeo McKnight | Romeo McKnight recruiting capsule

Romeo McKnight's going to make virtually every All-Name team in this recruiting class, but don't look for him in Iowa's depth chart right away. McKnight's as physically gifted as just about anyone in the class, but he's got two big factors working against him: he didn't play with his hand down much (if at all) as a junior, and he tore his ACL early in his senior season. McKnight was reportedly ahead of schedule on his recovery this fall, but he'll still be making up for lost development time his first year on campus. Iowa stuck with him for a reason, and his pursuit skills make him an ideal DE down the line, but that'll take time.

2016 Outlook: Unless something has gone very right with him or very wrong with the team, redshirt.

FUN FACT: McKnight's hometown of Crystal Lake is not actually in or near a lake full of crystals; it's just named after a secret level in The Legend of Zelda: Ghost Protocol!

AUSTIN SCHULTE

Weakside Defensive End, 6'4", 230
Pella, IA (Pella HS)
3★ Rivals, 2★ Scout, 3★ ESPN, 3★ 247Sports

You Might Remember Him From Such Posts As: Have A Seat, Austin Schulte | Austin Schulte recruiting capsule

It wouldn't be a Kirk Ferentz class without the Iowa Kid Developmental Special, and Schulte fits that bill as well as just about anybody. Schulte's got the frame for several positions, and while he cut his teeth at linebacker and tight end in high school, he projects (for now) at DE. Don't sweat the 230-pound number at this point; with so many bigger DEs in the same class, Schulte is a mortal lock to redshirt, so he's got 19 months of being locked in the weight room before his eligibility clock even starts running. And at 6'4", he won't be as, uh, limited in ability to add bulk as departing DE Nate Meier. Schulte just might end up a seasoned heir apparent to Parker Hesse, and as career paths on an Iowa defensive line go, you could do a whole lot worse than that.

2016 Outlook: Yeah, he's a redshirt.

FUN FACT: Iowa has had a player named "Austin" or "Schulte" in each of the last 13 seasons, probably!

BRANDON SIMON

Weakside Defensive End, 6'2", 240
Ramsey, NJ (Don Bosco Prep)
3★ Rivals, 3★ Scout, 3★ ESPN, 3★ 247Sports

You Might Remember Him From Such Posts As: Have A Seat, Brandon Simon | Brandon Simon recruiting capsule

Simon is (perhaps generously) listed at 6'2" and 240, which doesn't seem large enough to make a difference on an Iowa offensive line—particularly with the large frames of his recruiting classmates and the guys already on the team. But Simon's uniquely talented among the Hawkeyes with a lethal first (and second) step, giving him an ability to shed blockers before they can even get set. If anything, Simon's a throwback to the likes of Howard Hodges or even Leroy Smith, neither of whom were large of frame but who could get around the lumbering tackles with ease. And we've seen Ferentz experiment with pure speed on the edge, with Aaron Mends seeing a little time there late last season. Ultimately it comes down to how much weight Simon can carry and still have a quick first step; if he can get up to Mike Daniels' size, Iowa may just let him wreak havoc on the interior instead.

2016 Outlook: Probably a redshirt, but Simon might be useful in some special teams situations.

FUN FACT: Simon claims to have invented the phrase "Keep on truckin'!" BHGP cannot verify his claim at this time, and points out that people with two first names are notoriously untrustworthy.