In a week where most Iowa fans have been some combination of frustrated and confused, bad news on the recruiting front isn’t exactly what the doctor ordered. And while nothing is set in stone, I would say what we got today certainly wasn’t good news.
As those of you who err on the creepy side of caring may recall, Daviyon Nixon, a defensive tackle prospect currently enrolled at Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs, was a late addition to Iowa’s most recent recruiting class. He had previously been a Northern Illinois commit, but got a late Iowa offer, made a visit and committed on signing day.
He was sort of an under-the-radar recruit, not having a ton of big name offers. But the lack of offers weren’t due to his combination of talent and athleticism (he was listed at the time at 6’4” and 285 pounds). He was passed over by a number of bigger name programs due to concerns with his grades. Iowa had kept tabs on him, but held off on making an offer until very late when they knew they had an opening. Nixon jumped at the opportunity and seemed like a fantastic late pick-up.
Then in June, Nixon and the Iowa staff learned that he hadn’t qualified academically. That’s when he turned to Iowa Western, where he enrolled. With the help of Iowa, however, Nixon filed an appeal with the NCAA. That appeal was approved and Nixon became immediately academically eligible.
This is where things get a bit interesting, however. Because Nixon didn’t originally qualify, he was no longer bound by his NLI. For all intents and purposes, he was no longer an Iowa commit. He was an IWCC commit and enrolled in class there, meaning he would need to transfer to whichever school he chose. The approved appeal did mean he could make that transfer after his first semester rather that waiting until he earned is AA from IWCC.
And that was the plan. By all accounts, he still loved Iowa and planned to enroll as soon as possible and the Hawkeyes were still very happy to have him. Shortly after winning the appeal, Daviyon’s father Rodney had this to say to Landof10:
Daviyon has to do his part in school at Iowa Western, and he has to perform the way he’s supposed to perform on the football field. I see no problem with that. Then he’ll be going over to Iowa.
I just want to send a huge thank you to the University of Iowa compliance office and to [compliance director] Kevin Zihlman, and [Iowa linebackers] coach [Seth] Wallace,” Rodney Nixon said. “A huge, huge thank you to those two guys for helping us and sticking with Daviyon through the whole process and being honest with us.
That certainly sounds like a father who is all in on his son playing for the Hawkeyes. And Daviyon seemed to take a similar tone:
This isn’t the end. I’m really just starting. I am so grateful for this opportunity, and I am going to do everything I must to ensure I end up with Iowa.
If he were to be successful, the plan would be to enroll at Iowa in January with 4 years of eligibility remaining to play 3 seasons for the Hawkeyes. Perhaps even better, because he would be enrolling midway through the year as a JUCO transfer, the staff can choose to apply his scholarship to either the class of 2017 (where he was originally signed) or the class of 2018 depending on where space is available. It’s a great luxury and it seemed like a potential fairy tale ending to this interesting saga.
That all may have chanced today, as Nixon announced via Twitter that he had received an offer from the Alabama Crimson Tide.
While it certainly doesn’t mean anything is a done deal, beating out Alabama for recruits is a tall task for any program. The Crimson Tide are about as close to a football dynasty as we may ever see going forward. Iowa, meanwhile, is falling on a small order of tough times, losing 3 of their last 4. The timing couldn’t really be worse for Hawkeye fans looking for any glimmer of hope down the stretch.
Nixon was a guy who could provide that in 2018. He seems like a good bet, should he eventually end up in Iowa City, to crack the 2-deeps at DT almost immediately. His size and athleticism are just what the doctor ordered with the upcoming departure of Nathan Bazata. One look at his film and you’ll see what the staffs at both Iowa and now Alabama have seen.
It’s worth pointing out that Nixon became the 23rd defensive tackle prospect to earn an offer from Alabama. A number of those prospects have already committed elsewhere. Nixon is only the 4th DT prospect with fewer than 4 stars to get a Bama offer. In today’s recruiting world, it’s tough to know how “commitable” an offer really is. Hawkeye fans, I’m sure, are collectively holding their breath that this one is not.
In an effort to bring Iowa fans back from the ledge just a bit, I’d like to call out a couple pieces of good news on the recruiting trail this week. Aside from the incredible performances by a number of class of 2018 commits we’ve been updating you on, the class has also been adding accolades.
Earlier this week, Solon defensive tackle commit Tyler Linderbaum was selected to participate in the US Army All-American Bowl on January 6th. You’ll recall both AJ Epenesa and Tristan Wirfs participated in that game last year representing the Hawkeyes’ class of 2017.
And the class of 2018 is also expanding. The Hawkeyes added their 4th walk on commitment in the class as Kordell Stillmunkes of Wisconsin announced his decision yesterday. Stillmunkes is a 5’9” and 180 pound RB and DB with good speed. He will likely end up at either DB or WR for the Hawkeyes. You can read more about his commitment over on HawkeyeReport.
Here’s hoping that good news continues and we see Daviyon Nixon back in Iowa City come January. Go Hawks.