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2016 IOWA FOOTBALL RECRUITING: DEFENSIVE BACKS

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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.

AMANI HOOKER

Defensive Back, 6'1", 195
Brooklyn Park, MN (Park Center High School)

3★ Rivals, 3★ Scout, 3★ ESPN, 3★ 247Sports
You Might Remember Him From Such Posts As: Have a Seat, Amani Hooker | Amani Hooker Recruiting Capsul

I've already waxed poetic about Hooker earlier today, so y'all know that I'm smitten with him.  I love his versatility but as fun as his offensive exploits were in high school and as fun as it is to daydream about him being used on both sides of the ball, the reality is that it's his defense that matters more -- that's why he's coming to Iowa.  Luckily, his skills on that side of the ball look pretty impressive as well.  His ability to break on the ball looks good and he has a knack for making big plays.  We've had our share of playmakers in the secondary over the years -- Bob Sanders, Sean Considine, Tyler Sash, Micah Hyde, Desmond King -- so it would be great to add Hooker to that roster.  His offer sheet isn't impressive, but if there's one position where we don't get too fussed about that, it's defensive back.  None of the guys listed above had glittering offer sheets and Phil Parker is a defensive backs wizard -- he's routinely turned 2* afterthoughts into All-Big Ten performers and NFL draft picks.  We're excited to see what he can do with Hooker.

2016 Outlook: Special teams seems like a pretty safe bet

FUN FACT: Hooker has never seen an episode of T.J. Hooker, but he has seen every episode of Boston Legal and thinks William Shatner was hilarious as Denny Crane

EMMANUEL RUGAMBA

Wide Receiver/Defensive Back, 6'1", 175
Naperville, IL (Naperville Central)
3★ Rivals, 3★ Scout, 3★ ESPN, 3★ 247Sports

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

Rugamba played wide receiver and cornerback in high school and was very good at both -- he was lauded for his route-running and ability to take the top off a defense as a receiver -- but Iowa is leaning towards using him on defense, a notion that Rugamba seemed to embrace wholeheartedly back in August.

"The way their depth chart is set up at corner, they're going to need guys to be ready in our class, so they see me playing my freshman year on special teams and nickel packages," Rugamba told HawkeyeReport.com. "Then, my sophomore year, when Desmond King and all those guys are gone, it will be time for us to step up and be in a starting position. That's why they want me to get my feet wet a little my freshman year and be ready to go my sophomore year."

And that all makes a lot of sense.  There will be a ton of opportunity at CB when 2017 rolls around -- three of the top four names on the depth chart in 2016 will be seniors -- and Rugamba could certainly put himself in the mix for one of those spots.  He has very good speed, strong instincts, and impressive ball skills (look at some of the interceptions in the highlight videos in the Recruiting Capsule link above).  Of course, those abilities could also translate well to receiver and one could argue that there's plenty of opportunity at that position, both now and next year (when top target Matt VandeBerg will be gone).  Still, if Rugamba's eyeing a spot on defense, that should work just fine, too.  He has the ability -- and the confidence -- to make an impact for Iowa soon.

2016 Outlook: I don't see any reason to doubt what he said above -- some nickel duty and special teams make a lot of sense for Rugamba to get his feet wet in advance of a bigger role in 2017

FUN FACT: Iowa's also in the mix for his phenomenal brother, D.J. Rugamba.

LANCE BILLINGS II

Defensive Back, 5'11", 161
Lorain, OH (Clearview High School)

3★ Rivals, 2★ Scout, 3★ ESPN, 3★ 247Sports

You Might Remember Him From Such Posts As: Have a Seat, Lance Billings | Lance Billings Recruiting Capsule

An undersized defensive back out of Ohio with only a MAC offer?  That's certainly an unfamiliar story for Iowa fans.  Like Hooker, Billings did a lot more than play defense for his high school team -- he also played a lot of receiver and served as a return man, too -- but he's being looked at as a defender by Iowa.  PSD compared him to Maurice Fleming in the Recruiting Capsule for Billings and that comparison seems pretty apt.  Billings flashes some good ball skills and has nice speed in the open field, but isn't a burner.  He is very slight, though, if that 161 lb weight is to be believed -- he's going to need to find the weight room when he gets to Iowa.

2016 Outlook: Defensive back is a position where guys tend to play early so don't rule out an appearance on special teams, but a redshirt really seems like it would be a good idea for him

FUN FACT: Billings eschewed the more traditional "Jr." for "II," but he also considered appending "2.0" to his surname

CEDRIC BOSWELL

Defensive Back, 5'11", 172
Beverly Hills, MI (Groves High School)

2★ Rivals, 3★ Scout, 3★ ESPN, 3★ 247Sports

You Might Remember Him From Such Posts As: Have a Seat, Cedric Boswell | Cedric Boswell Recruiting Capsule

Iowa's secondary this year will feature three seniors in the top four cornerback spots, which means there will be opportunity aplenty for new faces to emerge there in 2017.  Boswell could be one of the names in the mix for those spots a year from now.  His recruiting highlights are more focused on his exploits on the offensive side of the ball, but he's being tabbed for defense by Iowa -- this probably means that he's going to need to spend some time honing his skills at the position.  He could also probably to stand to spend some time in the weight room if that listed 172 lb weight is accurate.  All of which is a roundabout way of saying a redshirt makes a whole lot of sense for Mr. Boswell.

2016 Outlook: Redshirt

FUN FACT: Boswell has a penchant for mohawks and midriff-exposing shirts that he can't entirely explain