The good news continues to flow in for Kirk Ferentz and the Iowa Hawkeyes on the recruiting trail. We told you earlier this week about 4-star Indianapolis defensive back DJ Johnson and his upcoming decision between the Hawkeyes and Notre Dame. On Tuesday, the good news kept coming as we learned that Detroit athlete (being recruited by Iowa as a linebacker) Elijah Collins narrowed his list to 6, including the Hawkeyes.
Today we keep the momentum going as Florida WR Bryce Oliver has released his top 7 and the Hawkeyes are again right in the thick of things. Oliver indicates his recruitment is still open, so additional offers may still sway his decision, but it looks like of those already involved, he will be focusing on the seven schools here:
If you follow Iowa Football at all, you’re aware of the current situation at wide receiver. It’s one giant question mark. But, we should get some of those questions answered this year by the numerous freshmen, as well as JUCO transfer Nick Easley and potentially the new graduate transfer Matt Quarells if that red tape ever gets cleared up. As discussed in our recent class of 2018 WR recruiting breakdown, I’d expect the Hawkeyes to take 3-4 at the position in this class. They already have Tyrone Tracy from Indianapolis in the fold, and Illinois athlete Samson Evans is a possibility to end up at receiver. So we are really looking at two more openings on the high end.
How does Bryce Oliver fit into that equation? Well, he looks like he’d fit really well. He’s listed at 6’3” and 205 lb. heading into his senior season at Ft. Lauderdale’s Dillard High School. Iowa has had some success in the area over the years. In recent memory, former QB Jake Rudock and and current RB Kyshaun Bryan prepped at Ft. Lauderdale’s St. Thomas Aquinas. Former CB Greg Mabin went to Calvary Christian High School. From the earlier Ferentz days, the Hawkeyes reeled in Colin Cole and Abdul Hodge from the area, as well as the imfamous Benny Sapp. The area is a hotbed of talent.
Oliver’s 3-star rating is pretty consistent with his 247 Sports composite ranking as the 176th-best receiver in the class, though I think he has the potential to be much better than that ranking might suggest.
Right out of the gates, you can see from his film he has some really good athleticism to go with that size. He also shows pretty nice top-end speed at times. It can be difficult to truly judge from highlight tape at times, but given Oliver plays his high school ball in Ft. Lauderdale I think it’s safe to assume the defenders he’s streaking behind are at least decent quality.
I think one of the most telling things in the film is how much is devoted to his blocking abilities. Starting around the 2:20 mark, the entire final minute plus is clips of him block downfield for a variety of different types of plays. We all know the importance of WR blocking for the scheme Iowa runs and the style of team they want to be. It isn’t terribly common to see a high school film of a kid with the size and athleticism of Oliver devoting more than a few seconds to that particular skillset. The fact we see that here, to me, shows this may be a good cultural fit. That’s especially important when recruiting out of state players from places like Texas and Florida.
Oliver has indicated he is still open to new scholarship offers and will likely let the recruiting process develop over the course of his senior season. Expect him to find his way to Iowa City for a visit this fall. It will be interesting to see whether he makes it to Ames as well. If he is up for an unofficial visit, it would make sense to pair the two together to be cost effective. If he opts for an official visit, it will be telling whether he spends one on both Iowa schools.
Overall, Bryce Oliver looks like a great potential addition to the class of 2018 with a good combination of size and speed. His willingness to block in the open field fits well with the culture the Iowa staff strives to build and the offensive scheme they run. He’s a name to follow as we get into the college football season and his list continues to shorten.