With no sport truly in-season, the summer is recruiting season. So, as we get into the doldrums of summer, we’re stepping up our recruiting coverage a bit. We’ll be taking a quick look at the situation at each position group for the Hawkeyes. We’ll look at level of need, top targets and Iowa’s chances of landing a commitment in each group.
Quarterback Scholarship Distribution
|POS||SR||JR||SO||RS FR||Incoming FR||Total|
|POS||SR||JR||SO||RS FR||Incoming FR||Total|
|QB||Tyler Wiegers||Ryan Boyle; Ryan Schmidt; Nathan Stanley||Peyton Mansell||5|
Quarterback isn’t exactly a position of need in this class. There are five QBs on campus including incoming freshman Peyton Mansell, who just arrived on campus last weekend. The departure of starter C.J. Beathard has left a competition between junior Tyler Wiegers and sophomore Nathan Stanley (and the aforementioned Mansell if you believe him and the Twitter hype train). With each having at least two years of eligibility remaining, it’s possible the Hawkeyes go without a QB in this class, but given their history of taking QBs and converting them into successful players elsewhere on the depth chart, I would venture to guess they end up with one.
Ryan Boyle has bounced around between QB and WR. Depending on the success of the incoming crop of WRs, he could end up at either spot. If he moves to WR again, that leaves the staff with four QBs and I would guess they take one in this class. Even if he stays at QB, I think they probably end up taking one simply for the sake of having guys in the system with the ability to step in down the road.
Note that this list only includes players not currently committed to other schools. There a handful of guys Iowa has offered, but who have already announced a commitment somewhere else. Expect the number of offers to continue growing as the evaluation process moves forward. The summer is a busy time for offers as Iowa likes to get kids on campus for evaluations in camp. It’s also possible some of the kids who committed elsewhere de-commit and are back on the market for the Hawkeyes.
If I had to guess who the Hawkeyes end up with as a QB commit in the class of 2018, I’m going with the most recent offeree: Will Levis. That’s not to say there isn’t mutual interest between the Hawkeyes and any of the three other uncommitted players with offers, but Levis seems pretty high on Iowa right now, while there hasn’t been much chatter regarding some of the other guys.
Jace Ruder is the only of the three listed as a dual-threat by all the services. I’m interested to see the direction Iowa goes at QB over the next few years. If you think about some of their best QBs, they’ve been guys who can get it down with their legs (Brad Banks and Drew Tate come to mind). Beathard was certainly capable of extending plays and making them with his legs when he was healthy. Incoming freshman Peyton Mansell is a pretty mobile guy. So if that’s the direction we are headed, perhaps Iowa will make a strong push at Ruder.
However, he’s seen his stock take off as of late. The Hawkeyes offered back in February, while he was still a Tulsa commit, and since that time Ruder has added offers from North Carolina (home to former Iowa WR commit Beau Corrales), Florida State, Baylor, Ole Miss, Penn State and Georgia. He’s taken some unofficial visits to a few of those schools lately, but not to Iowa City. Ruder has some real talent, but I think this is one that ends up elsewhere.
Devin Black is a guy who’s listed by some services as a pro-style type and some as more dual-threat. He’s the lowest rated by the various services and his 40 time isn’t going to blow you away, but he rushed for 900 yards as a junior and certainly showed some escabality. You can certainly see why he holds an offer.
He’s got offers from Louisville and Indiana, as well as several mid-majors so I wouldn’t be concerned about the ranking (not that you ever really should be, but I know how we all get when it comes time to get out the tape measure in February). New WR coach Kelton Copeland has been putting in some serious work in Florida since his hire and those efforts could pay off with Black. I like Iowa’s chances more with him than Ruder, but I’m not sold he’ll end up in the black and gold.
Kevin Doyle is more of a pure pro-style guy. He showed flashes of an ability to do some damage with his legs, but he’s more of a Ricky Stanzi-type than a Drew Tate. The DC native has a slew of offers, including Nebraska, MSU, Purdue, Pitt, Kentucky, Boston College, and a number of other power 5 schools. We’ll see how this one develops as we get into the summer, but he’s not the guy I feel best about ending up in Iowa City.
That honor, if you want to call it that, falls to the most recent QB offer: Will Levis. Levis is a pro-style QB from Connecticut with prototypical size at 6’4” and 222 lbs. He’s a consensus 3-star prospect and the #1 recruit from Connecticut and the #34 QB overall according to the 247 Sports composite rankings.
It’s easy to see why. He throws a good ball and shows solid arm strength. As a junior, he threw for 2,200 yards and 25 TDs with 5 INTs. According to HawkeyeNation, he’s turned some heads around the country with his measurables as well. At The Opening New Jersey earlier this year, Levis became the first ever QB to win an event. His SPARQ score of 123.27, which included a 4.8 40 and a 35.5-inch vertical, remains the highest in the country so far this year for any QB.
Iowa was the first P5 school to offer Levis. North Carolina jumped in a few days later. I would expect to see several more get involved as the process continues, but of all the guys listed above, I think Levis is the best bet for a commitment come signing day. Based on the HN piece, it sounds like he and KoK have a solid relationship and he has everything Iowa is looking for in a QB. Offering first helps. We’ll keep an eye on Will Levis.
So that’s where we are today on the QB recruiting front. We’re into June now, when things tend to pick up on the recruiting trail. Iowa has already hosted their first camp of the summer. There will be a slew of unofficial visits over the coming months, including the annual tailgater next weekend. Expect a number of offers to come from those camps and visits and potentially some commitments as well. We will, of course, keep you updated.