Eno Benjamin could wind up being the most important recruit for Iowa football in a very long time -- and it may have very little to do with his play on the field (though we're certainly excited to see what he can do there as well). No, Eno's importance right now stems from the work he's been putting in to support Iowa's 2017 recruiting efforts. Kelvin Bell is officially Iowa's football recruiting coordinator, but maybe Eno should get a deputy football recruiting coordinator title. In addition to extolling the virtues of Iowa and the Iowa program on social media, he's been working on swaying some of his fellow Texans to Iowa -- and it's starting to pay big dividends.
Texas hasn't been the most fruitful recruiting territory for Iowa in recent years -- even after adding former Texas offensive coordinator (and native Texan) Greg Davis to the staff four years ago, Iowa's recruiting efforts there have been pretty hit or miss. But Benjamin's commitment this year seems to have opened the mini-floodgates to the state for Iowa. They added QB Peyton Mansell a week ago and this week grabbed two more players from Eno's native Dallas metroplex region, WR Gavin Holmes and DB Matt Hankins (more on him in a bit). These new Texas recruits don't have the high profile of Benjamin -- they're neither bursting with recruiting stars, nor drowning in high-major offers -- but they're hardly chopped liver, either. And establishing inroads in Texas is the sort of move that could bring even bigger benefits in the future. But let's table the big picture stuff for the moment -- what about Gavin Holmes?
As you might have guessed from his "I'M COMING HOME!" comment, Holmes isn't a typical Texas recruit -- he's a Texan by way of Iowa. Holmes was born here and still has several relatives that live in the state (his grandparents live in Newton, IA), so he had a familiarity and comfort level with Iowa that most other out-of-state recruits don't have. There's no doubt that helped him lure him to Iowa City.
Holmes, listed at 5-11, 180 lbs, is a consensus 3* recruit. He chose Iowa over a bevy of scholarship offers, although most of them were from non-Power 5 teams (Boise State, Air Force, Navy, BYU, Fresno State, Colorado State, UT-San Antonio). That said, he had several other Power 5 offers as well -- Wisconsin, Utah, Syracuse, Kansas, and Duke. In fact, he was previously a verbal commit to Duke before re-opening his recruitment earlier this year. Holmes was timed at 4.43 in the 40-yard dash at a recruiting event (The Opening regional in Dallas) earlier this year -- that's pretty damn fast. He was also quite productive a year ago, hauling in 61 catches for 828 yards and eight touchdowns as a junior. He also figures to immediately improve the quality of the hair game on the Iowa team:
Holmes' speed is probably the main takeaway from his highlights -- both speed before the catch (he simply blows by several defenders) and speed after the catch (he does a nice job of picking up yards after the catch and making defenders miss in the open field with his speed and elusiveness). But he also shows the ability to make catches in tight windows and in the middle of the field (where head-hunting defenders loom). He also shows off some nice footwork on a few catches, particularly a touchdown catch in the end zone where he dances along the out-of-bounds line. So yeah: there's a lot to like here.
Welcome (back) to Iowa, Mr. Holmes.