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Iowa Football Recruiting: Big Week For Class of 2018

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The Hawkeyes have been busy on the recruiting trail as we move closer to the early signing period. Here’s a look at some recent offers and who will be visiting Iowa City this weekend.

Minnesota v Iowa
It’s a huge week for Iowa football recruiting. The Hawkeyes could add as many as 5 more commits before signing day.
Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

As the new, early signing period for college football quickly approaches, things are really ramping up for the Iowa Hawkeyes on the recruiting trail. The last week was a big one in that regard for the class of 2018, and the upcoming week could prove even bigger. Here’s a look at what you need to know.

For starters, the lone member of the 2018 class still playing high school football is Terry Roberts. His Cathedral Prep team had a semifinal game last week. Here’s your update.

Performance Recap

Terry Roberts

Pos: DB

Hometown: Erie, PA

Ht: 5’10”

Wt: 169 lbs

Defensive back recruit Terry Roberts was the only Iowa commit in the class of 2018 still playing high school football as of this week. His Cathedral Prep squad was in action last week as they took down Berks Catholic 42-24 in the Pennsylvania semifinals. Roberts finished with only 1 catch, but it was a 59-yard TD reception. He also added 7 tackles on defense and 3 kickoff returns for 48 yards.

Here’s a look at the highlights.

The win moved Cathedral into a showdown with Imhotep Charter for the Pennsylvania State Championship. The two faced off last night with Cathedral Prep bringing home their second consecutive state championship with a 38-28 victory. Roberts finished with 5 catches for 109 yards and a 17-yard TD reception in the win.

Roberts finishes his senior year with 1,236 yards and 16 touchdowns on 42 catches (29.4 YPC). On defense, he had 23 tackles and 5 interceptions. Cathedral Prep finishes the year 14-0 with their second straight state championship.


New Commits

John Waggoner

Pos: DE

Hometown: West Des Moines, Iowa

Ht: 6’5”

Wt: 245 lbs

As we reported on Tuesday, West Des Moines Dowling defensive end John Waggoner became the second 4-star commitment in the class of 2018 when he made his announcement. Waggoner joins a pair of defensive tackles in the class of 2018 in Oswego, IL product Noah Shannon and Solon product Tyler Linderbaum. They will also be joined by Daviyon Nixon, who was a member of the 2017 class before enrolling at Iowa Western CC due to an issue with the NCAA which was later resolved.

Waggoner is a heck of a get, widely regarded as the top prospect in the state of Iowa, and pairing him with an Army All-American like Linderbuam, a guy Alabama wanted bad enough to potentially tamper with and a former 5-star in AJ Epenesa and Hawkeye fans should be salivating at the future prospects along the defensive line.

Riley Moss

Pos: S

Hometown: Ankeny, Iowa

Ht: 6’1”

Wt: 175 lbs

In addition to Waggoner, the Iowa staff was busy adding new talent that won’t be on scholarship in 2018. That includes Ankeny Centennial safety Riley Moss who announced over the weekend he had accepted a grayshirt opportunity with the Hawkeyes.

Moss measures in at 6’1” 175 and was previously committed to NDSU. He looks to step into a long line of Iowa kids who have joined as walk-ons to play safety at Iowa and end up on scholarship and making an impact.

Here’s a look at his senior film.

Nick Anderson, LB

Pos: LB

Hometown: Waukee, Iowa

Ht: 6’3”

Wt: 230 lbs

It’s been know for some time now that Iowa is looking to add a few linebackers in this class given the departure of all three starters at the position. They have a pair of high school kids already in the fold with Ben Van Sumeren and Dillon Doyle. Now they are expanding their haul with junior college kids.

The First is Nick Anderson. Anderson is originally from Waukee and just completed his second year at Iowa Western. He announced last week he would be walking on at Iowa this coming season, following in the footsteps of current WR Nick Easley.

Here’s a look at Anderson’s tape from his sophomore year.

Colton Dinsdale, LB

Pos: LB

Hometown: Reinbeck, Iowa

Ht: 6’0”

Wt: 212 lbs

Anderson’s teammate Colton Dinsdale will be taking a similar path. Like Anderson, Dinsdale is a sophomore at Iowa Western and will be walking on at Iowa next year. Dinsdale is originally from Reinbeck, Iowa.

The pair of walk-on LBs from Iowa Western will both have 3 years to play 2 for the Hawkeyes. They add some depth to the roster and bring some experience and maturity to go with the incoming freshmen.

Here’s a look at Dinsdale’s film from this year.


New Offers, New Positions

We’ve known for a while now the coaching staff is looking to add a quarterback in the class of 2018 (as well as every class, really). There were some early names they missed out on and some names we heard as having interest, but not many offers. The stance was they would hold off until after the football season to evaluate senior film and identify their top targets. Now we have some clarity as QB coach and everyone’s favorite ex-Offensive Coordinator Ken O’Keefe has been out on the recruiting trail extending offers.

Spencer Petras

Pos: QB

Hometown: Kentfield, California

Ht: 6’5”

Wt: 215 lbs

Following the evaluations, there appear to be a pair of front-runners for the QB scholarship in this cycle and both are currently committed elsewhere. The first, and highest rated, is Kentfield, California native Spencer Petras.

Petras was recently upgraded to a 4-star by Rivals. He preps at Marin Catholic, the same high school as former #1 draft pick and current LA Ram Jared Goff. While it’s far too early to make real comparisons to a top NFL draft pick, the similarities are there. Like Goff, Petras has very good size at 6’5” and anywhere from 215-225 pounds. He also stacks up pretty well statistically.

Senior Season Comparison of Jared Goff and Spencer Petras

Player G Passing Cmp-Att-Yards TD-INT Rushing Yards-TD
Player G Passing Cmp-Att-Yards TD-INT Rushing Yards-TD
Jared Goff 16 235-368-3,692 40-12 332-8
Spencer Petras 13 199-313-4,157 50-2 223-8

Ken O’Keefe visited him on Wednesday November 29th. He called back the next day and offered him a scholarship. While Petras is currently committed to Oregon State, the offer clearly gave him something to think about. The Beavers are in the midst of a coaching staff change and Petras has now made plans to visit Iowa City this coming weekend.

The news came after coach O’Keefe made his second trip to see Petras in as many weeks (assistant coaches are permitted one visit per week during the contact period per NCAA rules). Petras indicated he intends to sign his NLI during the early signing period December 20-22 and enroll in January. He currently has no other plans for visits besides the trip to Iowa City.

Here’s a look at Petras’ junior season film.

Zachary Wilson

Pos: QB

Hometown: Draper, Utah

Ht: 6’3”

Wt: 195 lbs

A day after offering Petras, O’Keefe and the Hawkeyes added yet another QB (their third of the week - Texas QB Matthew Baldwin has since committed to Ohio State). This time it was Utah native and current Boise State commit Zachary Wilson. The 3-star Wilson preps at Corner Canyon High School and like Petras, he intends to sign during the early period and enroll in January.

Wilson is another pro-style QB with good size at 6’3”. His film, like that of Petras, shows a pretty good arm and the ability to throw the deep ball. He works primarily out of the gun, as do so many other high school QBs nowadays, but seems capable of making reads and fitting the ball into relatively tight spaces when needed.

On the year, Wilson finished with 2,986 passing yards and 24 TDs with 8 INTs on 170-297 passing. In addition to the Iowa and Boise State offers, Wilson also holds offers from BYU, Minnesota, Syracuse and a host of mid-majors. Here’s a look at his film.

The Hawkeyes are still working to see if they can’t get Wilson on campus before the early signing period.

Drake Stoops

Pos: WR

Hometown: Norman, Oklahoma

Ht: 5’11”

Wt: 175 lbs

Yes, you read that name right. And yes, that is Bob Stoops’ kid. Drake is a speedy, shifty receiver from Oklahoma who is rated as a 3-star prospect by Rivals. He has offers from Memphis, Arkansas State, Ohio, Air Force, Western Kentucky, and Youngstown State.

Though it’s hard to see why some bigger names haven’t come calling yet. In his senior year he had 1,100 receiving yards and 15 TDs on 66 catches (16.7 YPC) for Norman North. Throughout his high school career, he amassed over 3,400 yards and 40 TDs.

Here’s a look at the film from this season.

You can see why Iowa is interested. He seems to have a different skillset from some of the other WR targets (like Lockett), but is a great fit for a slot-type role. He’s also a very good kick and punt returner. I think Hawkeye fans could get used to having another Stoops around Iowa City.

Markese Stepp

Pos: RB

Hometown: Indianapolis, Indiana

Ht: 6’0”

Wt: 205 lbs

Markese Stepp is a bit of an interesting story. He’s a name the Hawkeyes were in on early as they made their push into the Indianapolis metro. Kelvin Bell and co. have had tremendous success there in this cycle with Tyrone Tracy, Julius Brents and DJ Johnson all hailing from the area. They’re also in a good spot with a couple of big time players in 2019 from the metro.

But Stepp was one that got away. The 4-star running back from Cathedral High School committed to Notre Dame way back in June of 2016. Just under a week ago that all changed as he formally decommitted. There are rumors of him potentially not qualifying academically at ND, but those are unconfirmed as of yet.

With the decommitment, the Hawkeyes have re-entered the picture after being done recruiting RBs since the addition of Henry Geil. But talents of Stepp’s magnitude don’t become available often and the staff has used their prior relationship and Indy connections to put themselves in a position for a visit before Stepp looks to sign in the late period in February.

Stepp holds offers from a who’s who of college football programs, though it’s unclear which remain committable at this time. He has a visit to Louisville in the works for next week and USC is rumored to be a potential landing spot. A look at his video shows why everyone is so interested.

Braelen Oliver

Pos: LB

Hometown: Douglasville, Georgia

Ht: 6’1”

Wt: 212 lbs

As mentioned above, the staff is working hard to add another LB to this class and Oliver is a new name to watch on that front. The 3-star from Douglas County HS is currently committed to PJ Fleck and the Minnesota Golden Gophers. You’ll recall from last year’s cycle that Iowa has had some success flipping recruits seeking to jump ship from Minnesota. As signing day approached a year ago they reeled in Ihmir Smith-Marsette and Georgia-native Trey Creamer who had both been previously committed to Fleck. Earlier in this cycle the Hawkeyes flipped DT Noah Shannon from Minnesota.

Oliver could be next. He’s a bit undersized for what Iowa typically recruits at linebacker, standing only 6’1”, but his size isn’t a hindrance. What he lacks in size he makes up for in athleticism. Oliver is reported to have a 4.53 forty time, very good for a linebacker, and his film shows very good ability with the ball in his hands on offense and good range of motion defensively to play on the outside or in coverage. It also shows a bit of a mean streak, which is always a positive at linebacker.

Samson Evans Changing Positions

The new offer to Drake Stoops may seem a bit puzzling. Not only are scholarships in the class getting short, WR was thought to be full. In fact, Florida WR Calvin Lockett wanted to schedule a visit to Iowa City earlier this fall and was told to hold off. Now we see a new offer to a WR and Lockett is all set to visit this weekend. So, what changed?

Samson Evans, the Prairie Ridge QB who set the Illinois record books ablaze over his high school career, has long been considered a WR prospect. Along with Indianapolis commit Tyrone Tracy (who lines up and both RB and WR in high school), Evans was thought to complete the Hawkeyes’ haul of receivers in this class. This week, Rivals site EdgyTim reported that Evans is now being projected at RB by the Iowa coaching staff due to the skills he showed in high school.

The move opens up a spot at WR, but leaves some new questions about where he fits with the RB group. I won’t get into full blown speculation mode, but clearly there will be some attrition in either the RB group, the WR group, or both given the recent activity by the coaching staff.


Visitors

With the early signing day less than two weeks away, the Hawkeye staff is looking to get all the current commits in for their official visits and ensure everything is in place to have them sign early. The class currently stands at 15. Here’s a look at which will be in Iowa City this weekend.

Class of 2018 Commits Visiting This Weekend

Name Pos Stars Ht Wt
Name Pos Stars Ht Wt
Samson Evans ATH 2 6'0" 200
Tyrone Tracy Jr. WR 3 6'0" 187
Henry Geil RB 3 6'1" 211
Jeff Jenkins OG 3 6'4" 272
Cody Ince OT 3 6'5" 260
Jack Plumb OT 3 6'8" 245
John Waggoner DE 4 6'5" 245
Noah Shannon DT 3 6'2" 285
Daviyon Nixon DT 3 6'4" 305
Tyler Linderbaum DT 3 6'2" 270
Ben VanSumeren LB 3 6'3" 225
Dillon Doyle LB 3 6'3" 215
D.J. Johnson CB 3 6'0" 170
Julius Brents CB 4 6'2" 179
Terry Roberts CB 3 5'10" 169

That’s right, nearly every member of the class of 2018 will be in Iowa City for the weekend. The one exception is the curious case of Anthony Torres. Torres has been committed to Iowa since July and has always seemed all in, but his Twitter profile no longer makes mention of the Hawkeyes and he is no longer showing as committed on a number of recruiting sites. He’s also been removed from the list of visitors this weekend. This will be a story to watch.

The 2018 commits will be joined by 2017 commit Daviyon Nixon, who spend this past season at Iowa Western and will be enrolling at Iowa in January. That makes for a total of 15 current commits in town for one big recruiting weekend.

But that’s not all. They’ll also be joined by the top remaining targets, including a few of the guys mentioned above as recent offers. In total, there will be 6 prospects not currently committed to Iowa in town.

As mentioned above, QB Spencer Petras won’t be able to make it in on the 8th like the rest of the group due to his high school playoff game, but will be in town Sunday and Monday.

Other recruits visiting include the aforementioned Stoops, fellow WR target Calvin Lockett and a pair of defensive players. St. Louis safety Dallas Craddieth has been a name Hawkeye fans should know by now. Iowa has been in on him for some time and seem like they’re in a good spot, though he doesn’t intend to sign until February.

And finally, Will Honas is a JUCO linebacker prospect Iowa has atop their board. He’s down to Iowa and Kansas State, who will be tough to beat given his Kansas roots (he grew up in Wichita and plays for Butler County CC in El Dorado, KS).

Recruiting Targets Visiting This Weekend

Name Pos Stars Ht Wt
Name Pos Stars Ht Wt
Spencer Petras QB 4 6'5" 215
Drake Stoops WR 3 5'11" 175
Calvin Lockett WR 3 6'2" 160
Will Honas LB 3 6'2" 225
Dallas Craddieth S 4 6'1" 180

Calvin Lockett

One of the names mentioned above was Florida receiver Calvin Lockett. He’s one readers should recognize as we’ve mentioned him a number of times over the last several months. You’ll recall he’s a big WR, standing at 6’2” and north of 180 lbs. He plays his high school ball for former Hawkeye Marcus Paschal at Largo High School in Florida.

I caught up with Calvin earlier this week to see what he’s expecting out of his visit and where things stand. When asked what he’s heard about Iowa and what he’s hoping to get out of the visit, Lockett had this to say:

I'm hoping to see a great environment that I can live in and fit in for the next few years. Coach paschal has told me about the great people in Iowa and also about how good of a time he had playing for Iowa. I have talked to a couple of the other recruits and commits they love Iowa and said I would love it too

I joked that things may be a bit different in Iowa this time of year than in Florida. The forecast isn’t looking great for visitors from warm weather regions. Lockett doesn’t seem to mind:

I don't think the jackets I got are big enough but I will be bundled up.

As far as where thing stand in the recruiting process and what’s next, it sounds like things could go into February rather than ending with the early signing date.

I'm planning on going to FIU next week but I don't know the exact date yet. I'm planning on signing in February.

And what should Iowa fans expect of him if he joins the Hawkeys?

I love to compete and I feel like I'm better than anyone that lines up against me. I can create separation when I'm running a route and I also will block on runs.

We all know it takes a willingness to block for a WR to find the field under head coach Ferentz so it’s nice to hear that called out. More importantly, Lockett has the size and speed to be a threat on the outside, something I think we all know is needed for OC Brian Ferentz to fully implement his scheme.

Here’s hoping things go well this weekend for Calvin Lockett, all the other visitors and the Hawkeyes.


As a reminder, here’s the complete list of commitments to-date in the class of 2018, updated with new star rankings per Rivals.

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

We’ll keep you updated with any new developments over the weekend and as we approach the early signing period.