The Iowa Hawkeyes have had a good run of success with defensive backs in the NFL. That has translated to high level recruiting in the position group over the last few cycles. This year is no different.
While the class of 2019 doesn’t have a big need for defensive backs, the Hawkeyes were able to be selective and get the type of players they wanted. That came in the form of Illinois safety Sebastian Castro and Florida corner/safety Dane Belton.
The latter has been committed to the Hawkeyes since shortly after he made his official visit to Iowa City in late June. Today, the verbal commitment turns to a signed national letter of intent.
Belton brings with him a lot of versatility. He can play both cornerback and safety, and spent time in both positions at Tampa Jesuit, where he finished with 67 tackles, 9 passes defended and 4 interceptions. Belton spent most of his time at safety during his senior campaign, but paired with a player like Castro who projects at safety, it will be interesting to see where he lands at Iowa.
It’s also worth noting Belton’s exploits on special teams. He acted as Jesuit’s punter (he can punt!), as well as their punt and kick returner. Belton returned a number kicks for touchdowns, though some were called back, and had even more big returns that didn’t result in a score. That talent and his tackling ability are likely to earn Belton early playing time on special teams.
On defense, Belton brings good length for a DB at 6’1”. He’s obviously got good ball skills and he shows a good ability to step up in run support. The defensive backfield has solid depth, but Belton’s versatility should give him a chance to contribute.
Welcome to the Hawkeyes, officially, Dane Belton.