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IOWA FOOTBALL RECRUITING 2017: LINEBACKERS AND DEFENSIVE BACKS

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Here’s a rundown of all the recruits Iowa has secured at Linebacker, Cornerback and Safety in the class of 2017.

NCAA Football: Outback Bowl-Florida vs Iowa
Desmond King will be impossible to replace, but here’s a look at all the linebackers and defensive backs joining the Hawkeyes in the class of 2017.
Bryon Houlgrave-USA TODAY Sports

Linebackers

Nate Wieland

Height: 6’3”
Weight:195 lbs
Hometown/High School: City High School - Iowa City, IA
Composite Rating: 2-star - 2540 Overall, 170 OLB
Other Offers: Northern Illinois, Eastern Michigan

Nate Wieland may be the lowest rated recruit in the Hawkeyes class of 2017, but what he lacks in ranking he makes up for with potential. He checks a lot of the boxes the staff is notorious for identifying. He’s a former QB with a good work ethic and grew up wanting to play at Iowa. He has a good frame to bulk up and his starting weight is likely closer to 210 than the 195 he’s listed at. At 6’3”, he should have no problems getting to 235-240 before he sees the field.

As an under-the-radar guy, his highlight videos are sparse. Complicating things further, most of them are from his time at QB. That said, I live within walking distance of school and have seen him play in person a few times. He’s plenty athletic to play OLB and is capable of bringing the wood, as the kids say.

He will likely take a RS year in 2017 and then likely another year of development before he sees much game action. Iowa loses a trio of linebackers after this season, but there’s some good, young talent already on the roster. Wieland will find himself behind guys like Angelo Garbutt, Aaron Mends, Amani Jones and Jack Hockaday (among others).

Here’s our full write up on his commitment.

Defensive Backs

Camron Harrell

Height: 5’11”
Weight: 181 lbs
Hometown/High School: Bradley-Bourbannais High School - Bradley, IL
Composite Rating: 3-star - 948 Overall, 74 S
Other Offers: None Reported

Harrell is kind of a curious case. He’s the third highest rated DB commit in Iowa’s 2017 recruiting class, yet he reported no offers other than Iowa. I’d say it’s likely due to his early commitment (he committed over the summer and didn’t ever waiver), but guys like Colbert and Hankins were the same way.

In any event, Harrell is an athlete, pure and simple. He did a little bit of everything for his high school team, playing running back, wide receiver, return man and both corner and safety on the defensive side of the ball. Like Wieland, most of his highlights tend to be from the offensive side of the ball. However, what we’ve seen of him defensively seems to indicate he is a guy with a nose for the ball who can come up strong in run support.

Safety is a position of need in this class. The Hawkeyes lose Myles Taylor after this season and Brandon Snyder will be a senior next year. Amani Hooker and Noah Clayberg are the only two guys currently on the roster who would be left at that point so playing time will be available in the 2018 season for Harrell.

Here’s our full write up on his commitment.

Djimon Colbert

Height: 6’0”
Weight: 210 lbs
Hometown/High School: Bishop Meige High School - Mission, KS
Composite Rating: 3-star - 437 Overall, 45 CB
Other Offers: Nebraska, Kansas

Colbert’s offer list is short, but would’ve been much longer had he kept his recruitment open longer. A number of power five schools were looking at him long and hard (it’s recruiting so we have to keep it creepy), but Colbert committed early and remained steadfast.

The first of the secondary commits whose highlight reel isn’t riddled with offensive stuff, Colbert showed great instincts in the passing game during his high school career. It’s always difficult to gauge the caliber of competition from a video, but Colbert (I’m going to keep using his name and be prepared for numerous Colbert Report jokes over the coming years) showed great ability to stay locked on receivers in man coverage and read routes to make a play on the ball.

At 6’ and 210 already, he could contribute as a freshman. That’s good news for the Hawkeyes, who are in need of bodies at CB. Desmond King is irreplaceable and for all the grief he’s gotten, Mabin was a serviceable Big Ten CB who is now gone as well. junior Josh Jackson and sophomores Manny Rugamba and Michael Ojemudia have shown great potential and will likely take 3 of 4 spots on the fall 2-deeps

Here’s the full write up on his commitment.

Josh Turner

Height: 6’0”
Weight: 175 lbs
Hometown/High School: American Heritage High School - Delray Beach, FL
Composite Rating: 3-star - 1470 Overall, 155 CB
Other Offers: Wisconsin, Purdue, Boston College, UCF, FIU, Air Force, Army, Navy, the MAC

Josh Turner is yet another very solid DB commit in the class of 2017. His offer list is long and includes some of our Big Ten brethren. That should be an indication of the talent level here.

While not as highly rated as Colbert, Turner might have more upside. He is a little smaller, weighing in at only 175 lbs to Colbert’s 210 (both are 6 feet tall), but is a very willing and able tackler. He shows good instincts breaking to the ball to make a tackle in run support, after the catch and off the edge in a pass rush.

Turner, like a number of the DB commits, spent some time as a return man in high school and has shown the ability to be elusive with the ball in his hands. I wouldn’t expect him to walk into a returner role early at Iowa, but the ball skills should prove valuable down the road.

Like Colbert, Turner will find himself competing for PT with guys like Jackson, Rugamba and Ojemudia. Given the physical differences, I’d give the edge to Colbert at this point, but the lack of bodies could present opportunities for Turner either on special teams (where defensive backs tend to get lots of run early) or in select packages like a Dime.

Here’s our full write up on Turner’s commitment.

Matt Hankins

Height: 6’0”
Weight: 158 lbs
Hometown/High School: Marcus High School - Flower Mound, TX
Composite Rating: 3-star - 842 Overall, 90 CB
Other Offers: Michigan, Colorado, Illlinois, Kansas, Mizzou, most of the MWC and AAC

While not the highest rated DB recruit in the class, Matt Hankins was the most highly recruited. There were concerns at one point the staff might lose Hankins. He was slated to visit Michigan in the midst of the Eno debacle, but ultimately cancelled. Hawkeye fans will be glad he did.

Don’t let the slight build fool you, Hankins has great speed and quickness to go along with fantastic instincts in coverage. He shows a good understanding for scheme for a high school kid, dropping into zone as well as man. If he can learn quickly at Iowa, that could help him find the field earlier than some of his peers. The weight is a bit concerning, but I have faith in Doyle’s ability to get him ready game action in a few months if necessary.

Given the physical attributes, I’d probably slate Hankins somewhere between Colbert and Turner walking in to fall camp, but like Hankins’ chances to find his way to the top of this class of CBs before the year is over.

Here’s the full write up on Hankins’ commitment.

Trey Creamer

Height: 6’0”
Weight: 170 lbs
Hometown/High School: Cartersville High School, Cartersville, GA
Composite Rating: 3-star - 1019 Overall, 113 CB
Other Offers: Minnesota, Rutgers, Oklahoma, Michigan State, Purdue, Maryland, Louisville, Cincinnati, Kansas State, West Virginia

Creamer is the fourth and final CB commit in the class of 2017. The former Minnesota commit might be a steal for a number of reasons. For starters, any time you can walk into SEC country and snag a commit, it’s a win. Getting a skill position guy (albeit defensive) out of Georgia is a good sign for the future of this staff. Add in the opportunity to take him from our BFFs to the north the week of signing day? Yeah, this was a win. And the cherry on top is a look at Creamer’s film.

He has a similar build to Turner at 6’ 170 lbs (note that all 4 corners are listed at 6’, decent size for the position) and very good speed (he chases down a RB with a 15-20 yard head start around the 1 minute mark in the video below). He lined up at RB on offense for his high school squad and showed really good vision and the ability to stop on a dime, indicating he might have some returner potential down the road.

On the defensive side of the ball, he shows really good closing speed, which makes up for some less than stellar angles and a few instances where he appears out of position in coverage. Those things might keep him off the field early, but the physical ability will get him on the field once he acclimates to the college game and learns Iowa’s schemes. I’d look for him to see the field on special teams early and provided he doesn’t end up out of position too frequently for KF to earn a full time spot on the field in a year or two.

Here’s our full write up on his commitment from earlier this week.

Geno Stone

Height: 5’11”
Weight: 190 lbs
Hometown/High School: New Castle High School, New Castle, PA
Composite Rating: 3-star - 1402 Overall, 102 S
Other Offers: Kent State, Army, Navy, most of the MAC and Ivies

Geno Stone is the second safety commit in the class of 2017 and our final defensive back commit to cover. He’s also the most recent commit, joining the #Swarm17 just a day before National Signing Day.

I can already hear the critics complaining about Iowa stealing yet another MAC commit days before NSD and Stone’s lack of offers. Stop. Just stop. I like to complain about Iowa recruiting as much as anyone, but this kid just fits the mold. He was a high school quarterback with offers from all the military school and nearly every Ivy League school. Right off the bat I can tell you he has no problem with work ethic, he’s intelligent and he understands the game.

He’s also physically talented. He has good size for a safety at 5’11”, 190 lbs (actually a bit bigger than Harrell) and is plenty fast for the position. He shows great ball skills and really good instincts when dropping in coverage (check out the pick six around the 45 second mark and the break on the ball at 2:40 in the video below). There’s not a lot of footage of him coming up in run support, so that’s an area to keep an eye on, but he certainly has the build to be capable in that aspect of the game.

Safety is a spot where playing time will be available pretty early if either Stone or Harrell can prove themselves. Miles Taylor graduates after this year and Brandon Snyder the year after. Amani Hooker and Noah Clayberg have both shown promise, but I like Stone and Harrell’s chances of pushing for time before they’re upper classmen.

Here’s the full write up from his commitment from yesterday.

Note: All star, overall and positional rankings are based on 247 composite rankings, as are offer lists. Various recruiting sites may differ.