A year ago, Ohio safety Lance Billings gave his verbal commitment to Iowa. About five months ago, he signed his National Letter of Intent to attend Iowa this fall. But now Billings is... not coming to Iowa. Per Scout's Derek Young:
One of the class of 2016 signees for Iowa last year will not be remaining with the football program. Safety Lance Billings has left and has chosen not to enroll at Iowa for the Fall, he confirmed to Scout.
"Yes, confirmed that I'm not staying at Iowa," Billings delivered in a message to Derek Young of Hawkeye Insider earlier Wednesday morning.
Attrition is happening faster than ever!
Billing, a defensive back recruit from Lorain, Ohio, was a 2-3* recruit (depending on the recruiting service) whose only other offer was Ball State. His story was a familiar one to Iowa fans: a lightly-recruited, undersized defensive back from the Rust Belt? Yeah, we've known a player or two like that in the past. PSD compared him to Maurice Fleming in his Signing Day recruiting capsule piece (a comparison that seems even a little more prescient now, given that Fleming also transferred away from Iowa this offseason), but there were flashes of past Hawkeyes like Micah Hyde, Jovon Johnson, and Bob Sanders in his game, too.
Mostly what we loved about him were his highlights. His stupid, wonderful video game football highlights:
As Pat said when he gave his verbal to Iowa:
That clip at :50, where Billings takes the ball on an end around, breaks four tackles, jukes another defender to the turf and sprints for the pylon, is Sam McGuffie material. The touchdown run at 1:34, where he is a yard short of a first down, breaks two arm tackles, reverses field, goes back to the original line of scrimmage, then out-sprints the entire defense down the opposite sideline, is football porn of the highest order. And the punt return at 2:47, where he slides past the gunner, breaks two arm tackles, stiff arms a fool, breaks free of an obvious facemask and still manages to outrun everyone, is the stuff of legend. The offensive highlights are pulled from Greg Davis' deepest, darkest fantasies, but if you want defense, the hit he lays on a receiver at 4:46, lifting the guy up at the 6 and dropping him at the 12, shows what Iowa saw in him. To hell with 2015 Iowa football. I want to watch Clearview High to see what Lance Billings does next.
Alas, now we'll never know if he could have duplicated some of those ridiculously wonderful highlights in an Iowa uniform. Best of luck to Billings in the future wherever he lands.
Billings' departure does open up another scholarship; in 2016 that might go to current grayshirt recruit Noah Clayberg or to one of the current walk-ons in the program. Long term, it suggests that Iowa will continue to go after defensive backs hard in their 2017 recruiting class. The defensive back depth chart is full of holes and uncertainty after Desmond King and Greg Mabin depart after the 2016 season. Iowa's presumed starting safeties in 2016 -- Miles Taylor and Brandon Snyder -- should both return in 2017, but there's not much in the way of established depth behind them, either. Iowa already added two defensive backs for the future this week -- more are surely coming.