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Iowa Football Recruiting: Hawkeyes Land 2018 Michigan Linebacker Ben VanSumeren

The Iowa Hawkeyes landed their 14th commitment in the class of 2018 with 3-star Michigan linebacker Ben VanSumeren.

Iowa v Rutgers
Kirk Ferentz and staff added another one to the class of 2018 today.
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Last weekend was perhaps one of the biggest recruiting weekends in recent memory for the Iowa Hawkeyes. Sure, they’ve had some big ones, including the Penn State game earlier this season, but Saturday was the perfect storm: it came late in the year when many high school players were done with their season, it was an afternoon game allowing those with games on Friday night extra time to travel, and it came against a premier opponent with the extra juice of some alternate uniforms.

All that added up to a weekend where Iowa was playing host to more than 50 high school prospects from the classes of 2018, 2019 and even 2020. Oh, and the Hawkeyes absolutely destroyed Ohio State in front of a raucous crowd, leading to a number of those visiting recruits storming the field with the rest of the Kinnick crowd.

You couldn’t script anything better and while none of those visitors who weren’t already committed have made any sort of decision as of yet, Hawkeye fans were dealt some good news today, as Kirk Ferentz and staff reeled in a commitment from Michigan linebacker Ben VanSumeren.

Listed at 6’3” and 225 lbs, VanSumeren is a 3-star LB who was originally a TE target. He plays both ways from his Garber High School team out of Essexville, Michigan. He originally committed to Western Michigan back in February, shortly after the departure of PJ Fleck. However, he decommitted in May. Fleck had since offered at Minnesota, as had Missouri, Cincinnati, several MAC schools and most of the Ivy League.

VanSumeren isn’t just big, he’s very physically gifted. Back in April he put up some ridiculous measurables at the Nike Opening in Cleveland. He posted a 4.76 laser timed forty, a 4.03 shuttle, and a 40" vertical, which was good enough for the top overall rating at the event and earned him a spot in the top ten on the national leaderboard.

Iowa extended an offer back on October 5th and VanSumeren quickly made plans to visit for the Ohio State game this weekend. That timeline seemed to speed up as VanSumeren decided to drive down to Iowa City a couple weekends ago following the Northwestern game. He made the trip with his mom, dad, and younger brother, Alex VanSumeren, is not so little at 6’2” and 225 lbs. Alex is in 8th grade and will be a name to follow in the coming years.

A quick look at his film and you see why the staff offered. VanSumeren is a guy that jumps off the screen with his level of competition. On offense, he is utilized as a tight end and is all over the field. He’s making great catches, running over, around and through defenders.

On the defensive side of the ball, he is nearly unblock-able (subtle reminder this is a highlight tape). Take the clip at roughly the 30-second mark for example. You see him come off the edge, bulldoze a would-be blocker and drive the ball-carrier back about 5 yards before throwing him to the ground. Good stuff.

Slide the dial forward one play and you see essentially the same thing, but from the middle of the field. A blocker gets the truck-stick treatment before VanSumeren hit, lifts and drives the ball-carrier into the ground. Honestly, you see it throughout the film. He has an incredible combination of size, athleticism and mean streak that should have Iowa fans excited. He is a proverbial bull in a china shop. There’s further evidence in his junior season film.

In his senior season, VanSumeren has 1,259 yards and 13 TDs on 85 catches. While Iowa is recruiting him at linebacker, he clearly has some versatility and the build to be a successful tight end as well.

The addition of VanSumeren takes Iowa’s class of 2018 up to 14 total commitments. He is the 2nd linebacker to commit, joining local product Dillon Doyle at the position. The Hawkeyes are expected to take either 2 or 3 backers in the class. Here’s a look at where things stand with the class of 2018 from a positional standpoint:

VanSumeren is the first commitment in the class from the state of Michigan, but the 12th (of 14) to come from outside the state of Iowa. The class has a distinctly Midwest flavor, but is limited on truly local talent. Here’s a look at this on the whole:

Here’s the full list of commitments to-date in this cycle (star ratings as per

Iowa Football Class of 2018 Commitments

Name Pos Hometown Ht Wt Stars Commitment Date Signing Period
Name Pos Hometown Ht Wt Stars Commitment Date Signing Period
Jeff Jenkins OL Crystal Lake, IL 6'4" 272 3 1/22/2017 Early
Dillon Doyle LB Iowa City, IA 6'3" 215 3 3/20/2017 Early
Henry Geil RB Green Bay, WI 6'0" 211 3 4/23/2017 Early
Tyrone Tracy Jr. ATH Indianapolis, IN 6'0" 187 3 4/29/2017 Early
Tyler Linderbaum DT Solon, IA 6'2" 255 3 5/1/2017 Early
Samson Evans ATH Crystal Lake, IL 6'1" 190 2 5/21/2017 Early
Terry Roberts DB Erie, PA 5'10" 169 3 6/5/2017 Early
Cody Ince OL Balsam Lake, WI 6'5" 260 3 6/19/2017 Early
Jack Plumb TE Green Bay, WI 6'8" 245 3 6/26/2017 Early
Noah Shannon DT Oswego, IL 6'2" 285 3 7/4/2017 Early
DJ Johnson DB Indianapolis, IN 6'0" 170 3 8/22/2017 Late*
Julius Brents DB Indianapolis, IN 6'2" 180 4 9/1/2017 Late*
John Waggoner DE West Des Moines, IA 6'5" 245 4 12/5/2017 Early
Calvin Lockett WR Largo, FL 6'2" 170 3 12/13/2017 Early
Spencer Petras QB Kentfield, CA 6'5" 225 4 12/15/2017 Early
Dallas Craddieth DB Florrisant, MO 6'1" 180 4 12/20/2017 Early
Seth Benson LB Sioux Falls, SD 6'1" 210 2 12/21/2017 Early
Nico Ragaini WR West Haven, CT 6'0" 190 3 1/8/2017 NA
Logan Klemp LB Jewell, IA 6'3" 210 2 2/2/2018 Late
Kaevon Merriweather S Belleville, MI 6'2" 195 2 2/2/2018 Late
Jayden McDonald LB Suwanee, GA 6'1" 210 3 2/5/2018 Late

Congratulations to Ben VanSumeren! Welcome aboard and Go Hawks!