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Iowa Football Recruiting: Early Signing Period Postmortem

20 signees from 11 states are now Hawkeyes!

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NCAA Football: Nebraska at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Barring a magnificent surprise, the 2019 Early Signing Period is in the books for the Iowa football team. The overall consensus on this class? It’s an Iowa football recruiting class.

Hauling in 24 commits (20 signees, four walk-ons) in total, Iowa’s class ranks 39th in the country on 247 Spots, 38th on Rivals and 35th on ESPN. The four-letter network was the only to assign a 4 star-rating to any of Iowa’s signees, giving the nod to offensive tackle products Ezra Miller and Tyler Endres.

Iowa’s class hails from 12 states, which is pretty diverse for the Hawkeyes, actually. It speaks volumes on the kind of refocus the team is having on recruiting (even if the results in terms of class rankings seem to be identical…)

Five recruits hail from Iowa, while four come from Wisconsin. Illinois and Indiana claim three apiece and the Hawkeyes snagged two recruits from Florida. California, Michigan, Georgia, Connecticut, South Dakota, Missouri and Pennsylvania each sent us one of their sons.

A more comprehensive roundup of who Iowa signed and scholarship distributions can be found here. And please consult our recruiting headquarters for the rest of your recruiting needs. Below I’m going to fawn over the couple players I’m most intrigued by in this class, and recap all the other news that came out of #Swarm19

The crown Jewel of the class is likely Jestin Jacobs, a three-star prospect from central Ohio. He spurned a late-offer from Ohio State and in-home visit from Jim Harbaugh in order to keep his promise to Iowa. Jacobs, a U.S. Army all-American, is one of six early-enrollees in this class and will be on campus in January (the other earlybirds are Justin Britt, Alex Padilla, Shadrick Byrd, Ezra Miller and Dashaun McKinney).

Jacobs even visited Ohio State this year when the Buckeyes trampled Michigan. It was much-ballyhooed given Iowa’s history of yanking offers when a commit takes another school visit, but Kirk Ferentz explained the situation, and basically said he’s OK with kids taking a mini-vacation as long as he gives his blessing beforehand. Whatever!

ANYWAY, back to Jacobs. He’s already 6-4 and north of 200 lbs. He used to have a consensus four-star rating until he committed to Iowa. Whatever!

He possesses great lateral quickness and seems like he could fill this hybrid thing Amani Hooker has been trying out. It seems like Iowa may be recruiting differently based on newly-adopted defensive schemes, but Kirk dismissed that notion at his press conference yesterday (more on that in a minute).

So yeah, be on the lookout for Jacobs these coming years. Another guy I like in this class is fellow linebacker Yahweh Jeudy, and not just because of his name.

It’s because of his shoe size. He’s a size 15 and a half!!! Are you kidding me?!

ANYWAY, Jeudy was committed to Kansas State since July, but flipped to Iowa on Monday night. Sorry Cats! He just seems like a guy who is fun to be around and loves football so I look forward to him growing up in the program. He shows an incredible nose for the football and can breakdown and make a tackle in open space.

On the offensive side of the ball, I’m really excited about running back Tyler Goodson and Ezra Miller. Goodson is drawing comparisons to Akrum Wadley and Miller is to Brandon Scherff. I’m OK with that!

Goodson, Iowa’s lone Georgia prospect had 32 D-I offers. He had over 1,100 rushing yards and 25 touchdowns this year. Having depth at running back is good, and Goodson could be a good...son.

And with Miller… he too had a 4-star rating until he committed to Iowa. He’s 6-6 and 310 lbs. He seems like a guy we’ll be seeing very, very soon.

And those are Benny’s Big Boys of #Swarm19.

As is tradition, Ferentz addressed the media once all the ink dried yesterday. He actually said some things of interest! Let’s discuss those things:

KF: Just a couple things about the class. We have 19 captains out of the 20, 17 multi-sport players, 19 guys played in playoffs, 10 participated in state championships and four of them were on state championship teams.

That is really interesting to me. Nineteen captains makes sense, because often the most talented players are elected captain just by default, but I love those postseason numbers. A class that KNOWS HOW TO WIN.

I talked a little above about the early enrollees. Historically, Kirk Ferentz has been very anti-kids enrolling early, and six is a quite the number. So it’s pretty surprising to hear him speak so candidly on the matter:

Q. You’ve mentioned six guys coming in early. It used to be just a quarterback thing, now it’s just kind of grown everywhere. How do you feel about it?

KIRK FERENTZ: I’m for it under two conditions: First of all, it’s got to be their idea and not our idea. We don’t push it on guys because we did have a bad outcome, I’m probably going back eight or ten years ago where a guy came out here and pretty much sat in his room and really missed his girlfriend, did poor in school and that was a really bad combination. If a guy is not ready to leave high school, it’s a really bad idea and ready for the right reasons.

So I think that’s it. And then the other part is you’d like to think they’re going to be pretty solid academically, but the university is pretty stringent about who can get in at midterm, so usually it’s not an issue, but again, I think we have to do a good job as a staff and our team has to do a good job making sure we remember these guys aren’t with their class, and they’re starting new just like the freshmen did last June. It’s still a different level to be at, so we’ve really got to make sure we’re interactive with them and they don’t get left behind or feel like they’re left behind.

But again, I go back to that social media thing. These guys are in constant chatter. They’ve already decided who’s their roommates and all that kind of stuff, and I think they’re all excited about getting here and going to work, and it’s a good thing.

Obligatory mention of Iowa’s recruiting footprint:

Q. Do you guys feel like -- I know you’ve had success in the Southeast in the past and you went away from that, and it feels like you’re back in there -- is that just the recruiting pattern you have now or do you feel like you’ve established yourself there?

KIRK FERENTZ: I wouldn’t call it established by any stretch, but I think we have some logical reasons to go there, with Seth coaching down there and certainly Derrick’s background coaching right there specifically, as well. Yeah, I think that helps certainly, and if you have a trust level with the coaches and they are giving you a good straight shot on guys. And then Florida we’ve always tried to dabble there. Again, we just really want to make sure we have a good feel of what we’re getting. But I think just again because of our population base we’re going to have to spot in other areas, and I think it probably makes sense to go where your ties are the strongest. That can rotate or change depending on who you have with you.

And finally, not recruiting related, but this was an exchange that caught my eye.

During his opening statement, Ferentz addressed his players going to the NFL. In doing so, he did something I don’t think I’ve ever seen him do in the eight years I’ve been closely following the program: he asked reporters to not ask a question. Emphasis mine below.

Then the other thing, I was happy to read the other night about Nate Stanley staying. That’s always good news. I realize there’s a lot of talk, speculation on that, and the players are still gathering information. Stuff is starting to trickle back a little bit from the NFL and some other people that we visit with.

What we’ll do is like we always do, we’ll present that information to our players, let them look it over, we’ll have discussion, what have you, and then go from there. If there are any announcements we’ll be sure to share those with you. Really appreciate if everybody stays off that topic once we get down to Tampa. All of us want to have our focus on the game. We have a big assignment and I appreciate everybody staying away from that. We’ll let you know if there’s anything really newsworthy to report on that.

Is this a major flex? Is this petty micromanaging? Is this not a big deal?